Educated Woman of the Week- Jana Watts

Jana Watts
Volunteer, Community Leader
Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology, University of Utah

Briefly tell us about your academic/professional life:
My primary career for the past 25 years has been raising my five wonderful children.  I have been a volunteer and taught ESL to federal inmates for the 17 of those years at Davis County Jail.  I have also been a mentor at an alternative high school for low income students and I’ve spent many years as a member on the community council.  I have always been passionate about community engagement and I’m one of those people who believes that each one of us can make a difference! Currently, I am about to start my final year of grad school at Westminster College, pursuing a Master of Arts in Community Leadership. My focus is creating a curriculum to mentor undocumented high school and college students.

Briefly tell us about your life outside of School/Work:
Outside of school/work I love spending time with my husband, watching my children play sports, boating with my family, riding my reining horses, quilting, serving in my church community and hiking with my Australian shepherd, Blue.

Who do you go to for support when you feel really vulnerable?
When I am feeling vulnerable I always go to my family first.  But after that I find myself looking to women who have gone before me!  I’m amazed by the strength I feel from the women who are just a few steps ahead.  In fact most times the most meaningful advice comes from women who have already traveled the road I am on.  Women from all walks of life can profoundly impact the lives of other women as they reach out in support of each other.

How have your career passions changed over the course of your career, and how have you managed transitions?
Like most women I have always wanted to feel that my life was making a difference.  I have been passionate about the time that I have spent at home raising my family.  But for stay at home mothers that career choice changes dramatically as children leave home. It is very difficult to transition after 25 years of loving your primary career.  The thing that has helped me the most has been my involvement in my community.  The transition to becoming a graduate student and starting a non profit organization has been smooth because I was passionately involved in many things over the past 25 years.  My faith has always been the catalyst for the decisions that I make and this also has helped greatly in times of transition.

What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
Next to my children the most exciting project I have ever worked on was starting a nonprofit organization called Davis Dreamers.  Davis Dreamers reaches out to first generation students and helps them access higher education.  We specialize in helping undocumented high school and college students access resources and connect with scholarship opportunities.

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