Get To Know Me
A graduate of Millersville University with a Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies- Applied Disability Studies and a minor in psychology, Jenna continued her education at Kutztown University where she graduated with a master's degree in school counseling. She is a resident of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Jenna is an avid volunteer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and partners with multiple local chapters in Pennsylvania. She served as the President of the NAMI KU Club at her school and is a member of Chi Sigma Iota, the international counseling honor society. Jenna is an ambassador for the Peyton Heart Project which aims to raise awareness for teen suicide, bullying, and the stigma around mental illness by scattering handmade hearts with messages of hope wherever she travels. Jenna started baton twirling at age 4 and then joined color guard in 9th grade leading her to hold multiple regional, state, and national titles. Her love of crafting led her to start her own business, Sparkling Designs and Gifts, which she has been successfully running for 5 years. In November 2022, Jenna was crowned Miss Pennsylvania Collegiate USA 2023.
My Mental Health Journey
I was diagnosed in high school with depression and anxiety then later in life diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Looking back on my childhood, I can see how I struggled then and the unhealthy coping skills I developed. Being diagnosed helped in some ways because it gave me a concrete reason as to why I was thinking and feeling the way I was.
I struggled throughout college due to my mental health conditions, the stress of school, the loss of friendships and relationships, and simply trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. College taught me about the value of self-care and what helped me refill my cup allowing me to give to others as much as I wanted to. It was not an easy journey or one I thought I could live through, but because of it, I found out how strong I am.
Today, I still live with mental illnesses, but they do not control me. I am proactive in doing what I need to do to keep my mental health from declining- taking medication, self-care, and keeping active. In my last year of college, I became involved in pageantry. Each contestant for a platform of their choice, mine is "It's Okay To Not Be Okay". I have had the opportunity to work with the National Alliance on Mental Illness at the local, state, and national levels, which has allowed me to share my story with people across the state and the country. I would never have thought that winning a crown would help me find and use my voice, but that is precisely what it did. Through my advocacy efforts, I discovered my passion for mental health, which led me to want to become a school counselor. I cannot wait to finish school and start helping students realize that it is okay to not be okay and that help is available for them.