As a first-generation college student, Jennifer Robinson considers herself lucky to have the opportunity to attend college. She was the first in her immediate family to obtain graduate degrees. With her academic background and teaching experience now in the communication field, she possesses a deep interest in education, culture and identity. She is also excited about being proactively involved in the shaping and advancement of the future of many students by having been committed to teaching for the past 10 years.
My first two years as an undergraduate student at California State University, Long Beach was a life altering experience which brought her to enjoy education as she does now. Robinson decided to take a few Black studies courses in an effort to boost her academic standing and to give herself some time to think about what a new major would be. Taking these classes turned out to be one of the best decisions she had ever made and serendipitously, she discovered the fulfillment that she did not even know she was looking for in education. After becoming enthralled and feeling a personal connection to the curriculum, she knew she wanted to connect with students in this same way. She was amazed by the numerous areas of study within the area of Black studies and this began her appreciation for cultural studies.
As Robinson applied this passion for both education and cultural studies to a graduate program in communication studies at California State University, Los Angeles, she became even more interested in the communication processes of African Americans and how it affects the maintenance of family and cultural identity. Her interest in communication came as a result of her work experience with middle and high school students where she realized that the factors that influenced the students to connect to their academics, each other and their outside lives relied heavily on communication. It was at that time that Robinson knew her future goals would be to work in an area of communication because of its ability to influence people toward action. Now, years later, her passion for education fueled her graduate choices, resulting in a master's and a doctorate in interpersonal communication. She is glad to have had the opportunity to address her passion for research done about African Americans by studying communication at the intersection of cultural studies. She is now most proud of the personal lessons she has learned through her experiences. She has always been intrigued by the way she can apply what she has learned in college and her personal experiences to help those who did not have the chance to go to college or to influence others to want to be students in college. Teaching students to enjoy education is one of the most fulfilling parts of Robinson's job.