Biologist, researcher and associate professor Jennifer Jost is stepping into the role of Director for the Honors Program at Bradley University to succeed Dr. Kyle Dzapo.
Jost received her B.A. in biology at Colby College in Maine. A mentor later encouraged her to attend graduate school and get her doctorate, also in biology, at the University of South Carolina. She moved from the East Coast to the Midwest when she was applying for jobs and got an interview at Bradley in 2010.
“I came to the interview, and walking through the buildings and talking to the students and faculty, it just felt very cozy,” Jost said. “The atmosphere of how the students and the faculty interacted is what convinced me to up and move across the country.”
Since then, she’s taught a variety of courses at Bradley, especially those in the biomedical science field. One of her favorites is An Environment in Human Health, a course about the interaction between medicine and public health. The class focuses on the “person, place and time” that plays into a person’s access to medicine and interaction with the environment.
Jost also mentors anywhere from four to six students that she works with for class credit each semester.
“I saw that she cared about me from the start of the conversation,” junior biomedical science major Rajeshwari Iyer said. “She helped me figure out what classes I wanted to take, answered my questions about other professors, and helped me adjust at Bradley.”
Come this fall, Jost will be teaching her first honors seminar.
“The honors seminars are designed to be fun, engaging, and usually in a topic outside the student’s major,” Jost said. “It gives them a chance to explore.”
Jost began working with honors students as a researcher and teacher and her goal was to pay forward what her academic mentors did for her when they helped define her career path. According to her, the students she works with on a day-to-day basis are what makes her job special.
“The atmosphere of a college campus, inside and outside of the classroom, of building those academic relationships…I love that process,” Jost said. “I just want to be part of it over and over again for students.”