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Getting to know your staff: Jenna Downey

Posted by Maggie Lapp on December 1, 2020 in News


Jenna Downey joined the Rowe School of Business in July 2019 as Coordinator of Recruitment and Marketing for the CRMBA Program. Who would have guessed that 10 months later she would be working from home amidst a global pandemic and recruiting students in a virtual environment? Prior to joining Dalhousie, Jenna was a student success leader at St. Francis Xavier University. She is also completing her Master’s in Kinesiology at the University of New Brunswick.

What do you like most about your job? What do you like least? 

I most like working one-on-one with students: getting to know them, advising them through the application process and helping them discover whether the program is the right fit for them. My least favourite part of the job is some of the repetitiveness and endless emails.

What is your typical workday like?

With the situation right now, there are a lot of virtual events—graduate fairs, information sessions—and planning for these events is a large part of my day. Also, a lot of emails and Teams meetings and, of course, e-meetings with students.

What is your favourite Dalhousie memory?

I had the opportunity to present in the CRMBA summer session of PPE (Personal and Professional Effectiveness) on mindfulness and mental health, which permitted me to draw on the research I have been doing for my master’s thesis on mindfulness and elite athletes.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you "grew up"?  

I wanted to be a professional hockey player. I began playing hockey when I was five years old. I attended StFX on a hockey scholarship (taking a BSc in kinetics and a BA in religion and philosophy) but had to give up on that dream when hockey opportunities ran out. I also thought about becoming a high school teacher.

What do you think you would be doing if you were not doing this?  

I would eventually like to get a PhD and become a university professor.

Jenna with partner Lauren Agnew and dogs Ari and Sophie

What do you do to relax outside work?

We have two dogs—Ari, a terrier mix, and Sophie, a pit bull/Lab mix—and we enjoy lots of outdoor activities with them. Also, I have recently joined a senior women’s hockey league after a five-year break from playing.

During lockdown we relaxed with Netflix and I started doing paint-by-numbers—those were a source of relaxation during the early days of quarantine.

We like trying new restaurants and cafés around Halifax—Coastal Café is a favourite for brunch.

What might your co-workers be surprised to learn about you?

They might be surprised to learn I was homeschooled until high school along with three of my four siblings. We grew up outside Stratford, Ontario, across from my grandparents' farm, and my aunt and uncle also homeschooled their children. My mother was a nurse/midwife and I think she always wanted to be a teacher.

Attending high school was definitely an adjustment with having to sit at a desk for hours and learning by listening rather than by doing.

What is something interesting about where you grew up?

Stratford used to be known for its theatre but now is known as the home of Justin Bieber!

What do you like about living in Nova Scotia?  

The ocean and variety of outdoor activities we can participate in and the friendliness of the people.

Tell me about something you are proud of accomplishing (at Dal or outside of it).  

This year, during the pandemic, I am excited that enrollment numbers did not decrease. I was worried that we would have a small incoming class and it took a lot of work to convince students to begin the CRMBA this year.

What advice would you give to a new staff member?  

Ask a lot of questions and get to know who to call and who the experts are. It's important to know how things run and who does what.

In 20 years, what do you hope is different about the world?  

I hope education is more affordable.