Jennifer "Jen" Baros is a student pursuing her master's degree in English with a concentration in creative writing at Eastern New Mexico University. She takes her classes online and lives in Denver, Colorado.
Attending ENMU is a tradition in Jen's family: her mother graduated from ENMU with a bachelor's and master's degree in English, her father graduated with a bachelor's degree in business and her younger sister graduated from ENMU with a master's degree in English, as well. Jen also has a younger brother who is pursuing a bachelor's degree in engineering at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.
Jen was born and raised in Clovis, New Mexico, but has also lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Anchorage, Alaska; and Wichita, Kansas since graduating from high school.
Jen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1999 from the University of Alaska Anchorage and obtained 30 graduate hours towards a Masters of Divinity at Denver Seminary before starting her master's degree at ENMU.
She was previously employed as a social media sciences administrator creating marketing campaigns for national and international clients. She served as an account manager, marketing specialist, content developer, copywriter and brand curator across multiple social media platforms. More recently, Jen began substitute teaching English at the high school level in hopes of having a more lasting impact on the lives of others.
Jen participated in the ENMU Writer's Retreat in 2015 and had the opportunity to meet faculty and "feel the unparalleled support from the local community." This retreat was one of Jen's top three experiences in her educational career.
After her experience at ENMU's Writer's Retreat, she knew she "wanted the ethos of the program to match her educational philosophy and to value relational community as a highly as academic rigor." She knew that ENMU would be the perfect fit that would fulfill all of these prerequisites.
She decided to choose to pursue her master's degree in English because stories are a universal form of communication. "Writing stories are a form of communicating who we are to one another, and help us find points to empathy and relational interaction," she explained.
Jen has had several professors that have mentored her throughout her time at Eastern. "From Dr. Steve Bellin-Oka taking a vested interest in my admissions to Dr. Carol Erwin nurturing my questions and encouraging my pursuits; Dr. David Sweeten building a safe and respectful community, and Dr. Michael Rizza encouraging the use of a theological background to approach my current projects. Dr. Micah Donohue expressing a shared interest in Koine (a common language of Greeks in the Byzantine era), and Dr. Linda Sumption making sure that as a distance student I am getting the most out of our weekly class sessions," she said.
"Every professor I've had the pleasure of interacting with has made my experience at ENMU rewarding and formative. This community of scholars is the reason I attend ENMU," she added.
Jen has enjoyed her experience earning her degree through ENMU online. "I have enjoyed making connections in class, even online, with students and faculty who share my interests. I particularly enjoyed the graduate gatherings hosted by the English department. As a distance student, I was only able to attend one [graduate gathering], but it was a pleasure being able to interact with my professors outside of the classroom."
Jen's advice to other students interested in pursuing a degree in English is to "enjoy this time in your life. You're surrounded by intelligent and articulate people who are interested in the same things you are, people who are invested in your success. Take advantage of their expertise, knowledge and passion for this subject. Remember that we've all got a story to share. Hone yours."