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Alumni News

Jenn Winski Colodney ’02

Since graduation, this alumna has held various creative titles. However, if asked as a freshman if she saw herself pursuing any of those career paths – her answer would have probably been “no”.

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“My undergraduate experience left me feeling technically competent as a budding creative professional ready to enter the workforce after graduation,” says Jenn Winski Colodney ’02. Colodney graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with a studio specialization in Graphic Design and is the Vice President of Marketing & Communications for Somerset County YMCA. Since graduation, she has held various creative titles such as graphic designer, creative services manager, art director, webmaster, web designer, marketing coordinator, creative director, and marketing director. However, if asked as a freshman if she saw herself pursuing any of those career paths – her answer would have probably been “no”.Colodney initially began her college career as a Molecular Biology major. “Coming from a small private high school in South Jersey, I have never had any formal art education prior to college,” says Colodney. Although she did not have a creative’s academic background, she did have the passion for art and creativity since childhood. After taking a few graphic design courses, she realized that it was something she wanted pursue. She didn’t give it a second thought and decided to chase her dreams by switching majors.

As an undergraduate, Colodney was an active member of The Montclarion and Delta Xi Delta. She served The Montclarion for four years as the main editorial cartoonist, one year as photo editor, and two years as graphic design editor. The organization was a memorable aspect of her college experience and one which taught her a set of valuable skills. As Colodney puts it, “four years serving on The Montclarion in various capacities is where I learned how to effectively balance competing priorities, manage my time, and think outside the box to get the job done.” Being part of the student newspaper gave her the opportunity to reinforce her passion for Fine Arts while also making lasting friendships. It wasn’t all about journalism, as she puts it, “The Montclarion was a weekly source of friendship, maddening stress, laughter, and late night 4th meals.” Nonetheless, The Montclarion was home to her – literally. Due to an electrical fire in Blanton, Colodney was displaced from her dorm for a week and found shelter for her belongings in The Montclarion darkroom.

September 11, 2001, as with all students on campus at that time, left an indelible impression on her. Colodney stood on the Bohn Hall observation deck shortly after the twin towers were struck. She was able to capture the towers with her camera and telephoto lens as they burned and eventually collapsed. The image she captured was printed on the front page of The Montclarion and The Cape May Herald, where she previously interned.

As any other student, Colodney saw the value of internships. She worked in a graphic design capacity for a local professional education firm, The Cape May Herald, and T-Fal. Out of all three, her summer internship at the Herald was the most enriching. As Colodney describes it, “I worked full time alongside their other designers, doing everything they did.”

“Inclusive, comprehensive, and transformative” are the three words Colodney uses to describe Montclair State University. However, she also emphasizes the importance of taking on the opportunities that the institution has to offer. As she puts it, “start from curious, be open to all the possibilities, and seize the opportunity.”

Perhaps, the best piece of advice she can offer to current students is the same one her grandfather gave her shortly after graduation on the importance of the everyday impression in the workplace. “Don’t dress for the position you have, dress for the one you want,” says Colodney.