Jen Hill with a group of children in Kenya.
Summer Programs Coordinator Jen Hill also directs a non-profit education and health NGO in Kenya, worked at Yellowstone National Park in college, and produces parties for fun.
Position: Summer Programs Coordinator
Years at NCSSM: 1.5
Home: Ohio → Durham → NYC → Durham again! Durham is home.
What do you do outside of work? “I am the executive director of a nonprofit NGO in Kenya, and I produce parties. I first interned in Kenya for the East African Center for the Empowerment of Women and Children while I was in graduate school for international affairs in 2007. I joined the board and then became the US Program Director when the founder passed the organization to myself and another woman in Seattle.” They have worked hard over the past eight years to put themselves out of business, Hill says, by making the organization locally operated and sustainable. “We run on volunteer work in the US, have a Kenyan staff, board, and PTA, and operate a school with 350 students in Kindergarten through 8th grade and a host of health and vocational services for under $90,000 a year.” Here at NCSSM, Hill is looking for ways to build a bridge between the two organizations. “This past winter and this upcoming summer, several NCSSM students have volunteered for the organization, and I am looking at an exchange between the two schools.”
As if her job at NCSSM and directing an international non-profit weren’t enough to fill her time, Hill also produces parties. “I have a deep love of house music,” she says. “I produced a number of events in New York, from themed parties at bars and warehouses to weekend festivals in upstate New York and even a camp at Burning Man in Nevada.” And she has continued since she moved back to Durham. “When I moved here, I joined some close friends in producing events at local venues such as Mercury Studios, Motorco, and The Pit.”
What coworkers may not know about you: Everything above….“Or that I spent four summers working in Yellowstone National Park in college. That I love to hike, though I don’t make enough time for it. Also, that I used to coordinate international summer programs for high schoolers with Broadreach Adventures and Academic Treks. That job took me to Costa Rica and all over the Caribbean.”
Best part of your job: “I love the challenge of creating an enterprise within an organization as unique and successful as our school. I absolutely love the people I work with, and that I get to introduce more people to our instructors and facility and services really lights me up.”
Favorite perk of working at NCSSM: “Having a unicorn as a mascot.”
One thing about working here that you’d do differently: “As soon as I get this summer under my belt, I will be taking more advantages of all the activities that will have me around the kids more. I loved Gram-O-Rama and want to attend more plays and festivals and meet more faculty across the departments.”
Interview by Sophie Williams
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- June 22, 2015