Dr. Qetler Jensrud of The University of Akron

There are some professors that simply just amaze you, whether the amazement is more like disgust or more like admiration. Dr. Qetler Jensrud is one of those professors that is truly an amazing woman and in the most admirable way. Her resume is so full of articles she has written, past job experiences she has had, and past presentations she has given that it runs a full thirteen pages long.

Beyond all of the professional accomplishments, her personality is one that cannot be forgotten. She is such a people person, loves to have conversations with others, and is understanding and a good listener for anyone who needs that. As an education major here at the University of Akron, I thought that there would be no better person to interview than Dr. Jensrud, my Introduction to Education professor.

When I asked Dr. Jensrud why she decided to go into education, she gave the most hilarious story. In kindergarten, they were learning the ABCs. When she got home from school one day, her mother asked her how her day was. Dr. Jensrud told her mother that the teacher had taught them the ABCs, but she also said, “I think I could have done a better job.” At such a young age, Dr. Jensrud already knew she was destined to be better at teaching people than her own educated instructors at school.

Education was not her original plan in life, however. Once she grew up, Dr. Jensrud went to college, got married, got divorced, and then decided to go back to school. This time she took a total of 94 credits in the psychology field… she only needed 48 credits to graduate with her degree. She simply felt that it was easy for her to understand, and she thought that she could help somebody else with her knowledge in psychology. Thus, her work towards becoming a clinical psychologist began.

Eventually, Dr. Jensrud found out that she would need to do an eighteen month, unpaid internship. Any student would find it hard to go for over a year without any income, but that difficulty was more real for her as a single mother. Because of this realization that maybe she could not complete this part of the process, she began taking up Training in Business and Industry, which is an Education degree. The University of Minnesota offered a degree in Education and Training and Development, so she ended up with that. She had never planned to eventually become a teacher, but the stars aligned just right and she has never turned back.

How Dr. Jensrud got from Minnesota to The University of Akron is quite an impressive story. In 1997, an application for UA ended up in her hands thanks to a colleague. At the time, she was a graduate student getting her PhD and working for the Minnesota Department of Education/Vocational Education, helping run the southern part of the state with the essential help of staff in terms of delivering licensure classes via distance learning. Eventually, she felt that she needed to move on and begin working full-time as a faculty member with a professional position. This is when the application for Akron was given to her. At this same time, she was already planning to go to Columbus, OH, thanks to the invitation from the Ohio Department of Education, to participate in building teacher leaders for the future of Ohio. She spent 10 years of research in order to assist the state in building teacher leaders. While in Columbus, she checked out Akron and found an apartment. Before she knew it, she and her sixteen-year-old daughter were moving to Copley, OH and starting the rest of their lives.

Since starting at UA, Dr. Jensrud has given an astounding 62 presentations and published 21 manuscripts. The best part of that for her was knowing that somebody, even if not the entire audience, was being helped in one way, shape, or form. There have been times during these presentations when people have asked her questions that she did not know the answer to, but she says that not always knowing the answer is okay. It is all about “being honest with what you know and what you don’t know,” so it’s fine to say that you aren’t sure but will find out. When it comes to statistics, she says it’s great to know so that you have options. She says that they give you so many answers and so many options on what to do next.

Another thing Dr. Jensrud has taken part in is the College of Education Scholarship Committee. She spent sixteen years as the chair, making the rubric and pulling together the committee. She absolutely loved having this opportunity to help students. “I love giving,” she said, “giving money to make students’ lives easier is extremely rewarding.” However, money is not the only thing she loves giving to people. Dr. Jensrud loves getting to share knowledge with others. She says that sharing knowledge is just fulfilling. She simply loves individuals and kindness, and what better way to be kind than to give them insight?

Dr. Jensrud even had some insight for the women in this world. “View yourself as a citizen, not as a male or female,” she said. Make goals, list out what is needed to get there, and view barriers as challenges. She suggests women picking and choosing their battles because they might not win every one of them. Make priorities and stick to them.

Dr. Qetler Jensrud is a delight just to simply sit and talk to in her office, let alone to have as a professor in the classroom. She has so many amazing accomplishments and is such a successful woman in the education field. Her advice for becoming a successful woman in the world? Do not see yourself as an oppressed woman, but instead as a human with goals to reach and problems to solve to become the type of person you want to be. Never give up on your dreams.