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Jill Bender

Jill Bender

Hometown: Conway, PA
Job Title: Staff Assistant for Student Affairs/Residence Life and International Student Support
Office: Student Development Center (SUB 101)

Background

Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary and Special Education from Slippery Rock University

What's your favorite thing to do outside of Penn State?

I'm a typical wife and mother, so I spend most of my time with family. When I’m not driving my kids around to their various activities, I enjoy baking and home improvement projects.

What do you like most about Penn State Beaver?

I love the small, community atmosphere and the opportunity to interact with students. As a former teacher, I enjoy getting to know students on a personal level and being a part of their stories.

My Penn State Story

My story has two parts. The first began when I was enrolled as a first-year student at Penn State Beaver, majoring in elementary education. Even though I was a commuting student, I made an effort to become active on campus. I was a member of the Campus Activities Team and an orientation leader. I also became a student worker for Amy Gartley, associate director of Student Affairs, producing a weekly newsletter to inform students about upcoming events. I transferred to Slippery Rock my junior year to complete my degree, but I never made the connection there that I did here at the Beaver.

The second part of my story happened by chance when I ran into Amy Gartley one day at the mall. Apparently I had left a good impression, because she remembered me from my time as a student. We discussed how I was looking for a career change, and she informed me of a part-time opening in her department. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience here as a student and was excited for the opportunity to return. After applying for the position and going through the interview process, I was hired as the staff assistant for Residence Life/Student Affairs in fall 2009. In fall 2011 my position was adjusted to full-time so that I could also support the growing international student population.

I just started my fifth year working at Penn State Beaver, and I can honestly say that I love my job. I couldn’t picture myself anywhere else. My office is located in the Student Development Center, which is a hub for student activities and residence life. There are constantly students stopping by to sign up for events, ask questions, or even just to visit. I love interacting with students and helping them. There’s never a dull moment, and each day brings a new challenge. I also enjoy attending campus activities outside of the office, and my kids love coming to visit campus for events like the PSU Day Carnival and Spirit night.