Jennifer Kerns began her education at Lewis & Clark in 1986 and immediately experienced the campus, the community, and her classes as life transforming. Her interactions with fellow students and faculty opened her eyes to the complexities of the world around her. Her studies in history and religious studies were particularly impactful and exposed her to new ways of thinking that have led her to live as a life-long learner. She studied off campus in Washington DC in 1987 and witnessed the unveiling of the AIDS quilt. She went on the East West Germany program in 1990 and saw the immediate aftermath of the Berlin Wall falling and the government of the DDR collapsing.
After a brief post-graduation stint as a server for McMenamins, Jennifer went to Tucson to earn a PhD in US and Comparative Women’s History. She returned to Portland to teach for three years as a visiting Professor at Lewis & Clark and later as a permanent faculty member of the History Department at Portland State University where she endeavors to impart upon her students the desire to think critically about historical issues. A most recent course she developed is “The History of Now,” where she applies a historical lens on current political and cultural events.
Jennifer has two teenage children—a daughter who is a recent graduate of St. Mary’s Academy and will attend the Honors College at Oregon State University and the School of Engineering. Her son is a high school sophomore at McDaniel High School and a member of the varsity baseball team playing shortstop and pitcher. Both play piano and care for their two cats and a very cute and busy pandemic dog.
Jennifer has been involved on all of her classes’ reunion committees, attended many other campus events over the years, and has a sincere desire to contribute to the health and wellbeing of the college. As a recipient of a significantly generous financial aid package that allowed her to attend LC, she holds a particular interest in how our alumni can continue to help make these opportunities possible so that students of diverse backgrounds can have the same life transforming experience as she did.