Jennifer Melton, a friend in Counseling Services


Krissy M. Rardin, Copy Editor

Life is not a straight path, nor is education. In trying times, Counseling Service’s own Jennifer Melton urges students to stay the course, both literally and figuratively. If you’ve found yourself in the Luther Student Center, you know that there are a group of non-instructor faculty members dedicated to student success, and Jennifer Melton is proud to be among them. 

Graduating from Ohio State in 2005, Jennifer received a dual bachelor’s degree in French and International studies. It remained to be seen if she would use her credentials to teach, translate or something else altogether. During her senior year at Ohio State, Jennifer Melton interviewed for an assistantship at Eastern Illinois University. She fell in love with the castle and her studies, ultimately graduating with a Master’s Degree in College Student Affairs and becoming the Director of International Students at Lake Land College in 2009. Jennifer found herself filling the roles of mom, dad, chauffeur and doctor to students with little to no family support locally. For those of you who have had the privilege of meeting with Jennifer, there is no doubt that she was also these students’ biggest cheerleader as well. 

After transitioning to the position of Academic Counselor in 2014, Jennifer found her encounters with most students to be briefer. Typically, she meets with a student only a handful of times before they move on to their assigned advisor. Along with her colleagues in the Counseling Services office, Jennifer’s area of expertise is to help students be their most successful self while balancing the challenges of higher learning with those of their everyday lives. She considers her interactions with students who are experiencing academic challenges to be the most rewarding and has offered support to many throughout her career.

Jennifer Melton credits this drive to help students to her own experiences. She had a strong model of education from her parents, and it led her to recognize that many students are not as fortunate. Many students face an abundance of issues, so at its core, she sees it as her duty to simply “make Lake Land easier.”

“Lake Land students are so resilient,” Jennifer states. “They make decisions to walk through the door and put themselves out there. It’s a huge decision to then be met with all kinds of issues. I just want to make this one piece a little easier.”

For those who worry what the future holds, Jennifer Melton recommends students to be “patient and proactive.” Many find themselves anxious, not knowing if the path they choose will lead to the job they want. Jennifer gives the following advice: “If there’s ever an opportunity to do something, do it. These stops provide clarity, they can go on your résumé and have practical applications. It is a series of saying ‘yes’ and being patient.”

Lake Land students face a host of concerns from employment, personal issues and family life. Adding the pursuit of college education on top of those is no easy task, and one that Jennifer Melton is well-versed in helping a student navigate. Of her admiration for these students, Jennifer says, “I don’t know the strength it takes to do that, but I recognize it.”

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