Interview with Jenna Colliflower
What are you doing with your free time?
I’ve been reading, going on walks with my dog, and practicing yoga. I also try to call/Zoom with family and friends as much as possible.
What are you currently working towards in your professional career?
Currently, I am pursuing a career in epidemiology and continuing to develop myself as a Public Health professional. I recently started working for the CDC helping out with tuberculosis disease control and the COVID-19 vaccine response. After working for a few years, I hope to get my Masters in Public Health and then, eventually, either a PhD or a DrPH. For now though, I am soaking in the hands-on learning and experience I get at work each and every day.
What is your favorite Saint Mark’s memory?
I have a lot of memories from Saint Mark’s, and a lot of them seem to come from annual events like the ice cream social, the Halloween Parade, book fairs, the Jazz Fest, etc.. As a child, I really looked forward to those special days and, looking back, I think it helped make Saint Mark’s the close-knit community that it was.
Who are the role models in your life?
I never had any particular role model(s), but reflecting back, I think I was influenced by and looked up to the various doctors and healthcare professionals in my life, including my grandfather and aunt. I also think that simply being around close friends and family, and seeing all they achieved, inspired me.
What has been your greatest success?
My greatest success has been going through four rigorous, but incredibly fulfilling and fruitful, years at UC Berkeley, where I found my passion for public health and graduated during a global pandemic. I feel even more fortunate to have found a job shortly after graduating – one that allows me to further pursue my interests and couldn’t be better suited for me.
What was the best piece of advice you have received?
Be kind to yourself and get enough sleep.
What advice would you give to the 2020 graduates?
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to be the best, to get perfect grades, to get into the top schools, etc. Remember to carve out time to spend with friends and family, and do the things you genuinely enjoy doing. I’ve found that I am my best self – even academically – when I am not constantly pushing myself to be perfect and instead, make a deliberate effort to find balance in my life.
Which alum would you like to read about in the Saint Mark’s Alumni Newsletter?
I’d love to hear more about the students from classes above and below me, in addition to my own, whom I saw and spent time with everyday for so many years.