Branch Chief, Strategic Diversity and Inclusion
Jennifer’s first experiences with diversity and inclusion are quite different from most other people. Raised in a signing household with American Sign Language as her first language, she grew up immersed in Deaf culture. Because the number of people in the Deaf community is relatively small, she and her family actively reach out to include everyone who is Deaf – driven by the commitment to not leave anyone out.
From an early age, Jennifer attended gatherings including people of all races and with all kinds of disabilities. Growing up, she became a proud member and advocate of the disability community, and developed a strong personal commitment to actively reaching out to all people – those with disabilities, of different races, or anyone generally considered to be different.
This personal passion directly parallels Jennifer’s professional career. She started her federal career 18 years ago at the Food and Drug Administration in Rockville, MD, where she held several positions including Staff Sign Language Interpreter, Civil Rights Specialist, Diversity Trainer, and Section 508 Coordinator. Later, Jennifer became the Departmental Disability Policy Advisor for the Department of Commerce, working in downtown Washington D.C. After three years at the headquarters level, she accepted a transfer opportunity to work at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Silver Spring, Maryland, in a more hands-on role as a Disability Program Manager. In order to learn more about the recruitment of people with disabilities, Jennifer joined the Human Resources side of the house, as a recruiter for Schedule A applicants and disabled veterans. In 2013, Jennifer joined the EDI Team as the Branch Chief for the Strategic Diversity and Inclusion team.
As a federal career employee, Jennifer has a long-standing commitment to be a change agent for inclusion and is dedicated to furthering NIH’s efforts in this arena. Her strengths include problem-solving, consensus-building, and throwing parties to bring people together!