Jen Davis with one of her special education students
Dec. 6, 2012
Our new weekly feature "Behind the Bricks" allows DePaul letterwinners a chance to tell the DePaul community a little bit about themselves, a brief reflection on their time as a Blue Demon student-athlete and where they have gone since stepping off the court, field or diamond.
This feature was renamed "Behind the Bricks" to coincide with the dedication of the John and Dale Melbourne Herklotz Letterwinners Plaza and Champions Courtyard. With the plaza filled with 3,800 bricks representing DePaul's student-athletes since 1926, each brick has a story. "Behind the Bricks" will allow letterwinners to tell their "DePaul Story"
Name: Jennifer Davis
Years Participated: 1997-2001
What does being a DePaul Letterwinner mean to you?
Being a DePaul Letterwinner is what I am proud of the most in my life. It means every- thing to me and I am honored to have been able to athletically compete at such a high level.
Why did you choose DePaul?
I wouldn’t say I chose DePaul, I would say DePaul chose me.
What was your favorite memory while at DePaul?
My favorite memory at DePaul was the opportunity to play with a talented team in the 1999 Final Four of the Women’s College World Series and making it to the Championship game against UCLA.
What did receiving a scholarship from DePaul mean to you?
The thought of college never entered my mind in high school as an option. Eugene Lenti and Jeanne Lenti Ponsetto saw something in me that I never saw in myself. Not only was I given the opportunity to play softball at DePaul, I am also the first in my immediate family to attend/graduate from college. Receiving a scholarship from DePaul has improved my personal, professional and athletic paths. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for DePaul University.
What was your funniest memory at DePaul?
I cut my leg freshman year against Bradley. When I came back in the dugout, I pulled my sock down and my leg was cut open. The reactions of Julie Luna, Tami Bouck and Liza Brown were what made it funny!! Come to think of it, most of my funniest memories have to deal with one of those three ladies.
Brief Summary of your life from graduation till now:
Currently, I work at West40 through a Federal grant program called The High School Graduation Initiative (HSGI) at Leyden High School, where I have taught Special Education for the past 4 years. The High School Graduation Initiative awards discretionary grants to State educational agencies (SEA’s) and local educational agencies (LEA’s) to support the implementation of effective, sustainable, and coordinated dropout prevention and re-entry programs in high schools with annual dropout rates that exceed their state average annual dropout rate.
We support school dropout prevention and reentry efforts by early and continued identification of students at risk of not graduating; providing at-risk students with services designed to keep them in school; identifying and encouraging youth who have left school without graduating to reenter and graduate; implementing other comprehensive approaches; and implementing transition programs that help students successfully transition from middle school to high school.
As DePaul University is “motivated by the example of St. Vincent, who instilled a love of God by leading his contemporaries in serving urgent human needs, the DePaul community is above all characterized by ennobling the God-given dignity of each person.” The DePaul community members are ”sensitive to and care for the needs of each other and of those served, with a special concern for the deprived members of society.
DePaul University emphasizes the development of a full range of human capabilities and appreciation of higher education as a means to engage cultural, social, religious, and ethical values in service to others.” My work follows this mission, as I am also the Special Olympics basketball coach and softball coach (current Blue Demon Morgan Maize’s Alma Mater).
The last two years I have been fortunate to teach students with severe physical and mental disabilities. This was an amazing opportunity to show others that ALL students are able to learn. These students are non-verbal, non-ambulatory (wheelchair bound) and have significant health problems. They are a true inspiration to everyone around them.
My work has now led to me working with students who come from difficult family lives. I work to keep these kids safe, in school and get them connected to school, which will in turn help them to graduate. Next year, I will be spreading this mission across the world as I am seeking to teach over- seas. As you can see, my work follows DePaul’s mission closely and I feel fortunate to be able to do what I do. DePaul University opened doors for me, which I hope to help open doors for my students and athletes.
Is there a recent highlight that you would like to share with Alumni and friends of DePaul Athletics?
The last two years I have completed two triathlons and participated in RAGBRAI (The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa), which is a bike ride across the state of Iowa. Don’t worry I represented DePaul on the ride for “College Day.”
What advice would you give to a current or future student-athlete?
Love it, embrace it, be proud, and represent DePaul on and off the field and PAY IT FORWARD.
Favorites: Travel Destination:
Aruba and California visiting the Luna’s Books:
Raise the Roof by Pat Summitt and The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D. Author:
Nicholas Sparks, David Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs Movie:
Shawshank Redemption Sports movie:
Brian’s Song and The Natural Quote:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. Most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” - Steve Jobs “Pay it Forward”