This is Jennifer Russum.
When we walked into the office, the first thing we noticed was her bookshelf, which did not look stereotypical for an English professor. Opposed to an overpacked collection of stories, Jennifer's was lightly decorated with a few paperbound books neatly stacked on the left of her middle shelf. We were able to recognize a few authors. Contemporary releases like Trevor Noah's Born a Crime which is the comic's autobiography that was published during the Presidential turn over in 2016 and more academic classics like a collection of Shakespeare stories that sat on her desk.
After eyeing her small library, Jennifer comments, " I am a minimalist and I do not like keeping books that I have already read unless they are something that I think I will revisit which is very rarely," she continues, " So, when students or friends ask me how a book was, most times, I will just give it to them if I already went through it." Besides books, she enjoys reading different parental lifestyle blogs online.
Jennifer was born and raised in the pacific northwest, rainy state, Seattle, Washington. Her Dad worked as a controller or better known as a manager of financial and accounting reporting, for manufacturing companies. While her Mom was primarily a homemaker but occasionally would have a "side hustle," Jennifer referring to her Mom's home day-care job, which she did for a few years.
She would grow up in a full house being the eldest of two younger siblings. There is her sister Katie, who is two years younger than Jennifer and the youngest, her brother, KC, who now goes by Karl. After attending elementary school in Seattle, Jennifer, and her family moved to Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, which is about one hour north of the city, closer to the U.S-Canadian border. This is where she would attend Lake Stevens High School and get involved in sports like basketball, where Jennifer played as a forward and eventually would lead the women's tennis team as Captain. She recalls driving her sister every day to school in which she jokes that they were always late.
When she was not in school, many summers were spent on the water driving small engine boats or resting on the wooden docks with friends. Jennifer reflects and describes it as an idyllic summer before going to college. After high school, Jennifer had a couple of schools in mind for her undergraduate, Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA or Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth, Texas.
She ended up choosing TCU because, at the time, they offered a better tuition rate with her scholarship and she already knew some family friends there. After four years, Jennifer completed her undergraduate with a degree in English. Originally, she was attending her undergraduate with an interest in journalism, where she got to work as an editor of the university newspaper. But after spending long nights in the broadcast room she then decided that this (journalism) was not a career she wanted to pursue if she was considering having a family later down the road. Coincidentally, after her time in Texas, God would reignite an old relationship with an ex-boyfriend from Seattle, his name is Micah.
Micah and Jennifer had dated previously in High School before going their separate ways in college. Micah went to school in Minnesota, who was originally planning to go into ministry but would eventually start working at Wells Fargo in Washington and later in business. Shortly after catching up, and a couple of deep conversations, Micah and Jennifer had decided to tie the knot upon finishing their undergraduate degrees. Micah proposed to Jennifer on New Years at the top of the Space Needle in Seattle and they got married shortly after on July 11, 2010.
Without wasting any time, Jennifer continued to work as a teaching associate of English and then decided to go back to school, " I remember when I was in elementary school. I told my mom that I would be the first in our family to get a Ph.D." She looks at her degrees on the shelf and continues, " So after college, I applied to ASU (Arizona State University) and was able to finish with a Ph.D. in English," so Jennifer invested about a decade in her respective study.
Upon completing her last year of graduate school and in the hustle and bustle of applying to different jobs, Jennifer found out that she was pregnant with her first child. Their first baby girl, who is named Zianne and later they would have two other baby girls, Teletha and Isley. Jennifer and her family moved back to Washington for a short time upon completing her Ph.D. where she worked as an English Teacher in Cedar Park Christian School in Bothell, Washington, a small suburb outside of Seattle.
During this time, Micah's cousin, Sierra, was attending Vanguard as a student and coincidentally Jennifer was looking to find work in Southern California. In January 2016, after being contacted by the Department Chair, Jennifer would start her career as an English Professor at VU. Currently, she resides in Costa Mesa with her family and enjoys going to the beach together in their downtime.
Vanguard is so thankful for Jennifer and the positivity she brings to the classroom.
Fun fact: Russum is Norwegian for horse farmer which is the last name she inherited when she got married.
- university news