Jenny Weatherford

Travel the world with the help of Director of Experiential Learning and International Education Jenny Weatherford

Though she’s originally from Indiana, Director of Experiential Learning and International Education Jenny Weatherford has spent nearly her entire life living all over the world.

Even though her travels have brought her to some of the most unique places on earth, Weatherford said just the location of Lees-McRae drew her in to pursue the next step in her career. 

Now, Weatherford brings her experiences from around the globe to help students discover study abroad programs as well as other overseas opportunities such as graduate school, international fellowships, and volunteer or work opportunities.

Get to know Weatherford some more in our most recent staff Q&A: (responses have been edited for clarity and brevity).


What drew you to the position of Director of Experiential Learning and International Education here at Lees-McRae?

When I saw the job advertised online, I was intrigued enough just by the location itself to apply. Once I got here, experienced the spectacular campus, its surroundings, and met the people I would be working with, I was sold! I could see that Lees-McRae was a place rife with possibilities and opportunities to build interesting programs and to contribute to students’ lives in productive ways.

What exactly does your office provide to campus?

I try to encourage hands-on education in a number of ways—both on and off campus. Almost immediately after I arrived at Lees-McRae I participated in the ski course at Beech Mountain so that I could start meeting students outside the traditional classroom and find out more about some of the off-campus opportunities already in place here. I also accompanied Sean Collins’ tropical biology class to Belize over spring break in order to get to know current students and help promote both study abroad and experiential learning in a larger sense. 

I work with Director of Career Services Laura Pell to help students find internships and think about worldwide career possibilities. Together with the Director of Campus Life and Student Engagement Hannah Finkelstein I am hoping to promote service learning possibilities for Lees-McRae students. Additionally, I help faculty as they look for ways to incorporate experiential opportunities into their courses and programs.

As the new academic year quickly approaches, what do you hope to accomplish in 2018–19?

In the coming year I would like to see many more students going on either faculty-led or semester-long programs. I plan to get some new faculty-led travel programs up and running, as well as assist in establishing more locally-based, hands-on opportunities for students. I want to cultivate more international interest on campus by encouraging and hosting events with a global focus, especially ones that could incorporate and highlight our international students.

Why is it important to offer international programming for students both here at Lees-McRae and in higher education as a whole?

There has never been a time when global awareness was more important. Students need knowledge and experience of not just their own country, but also the larger world. Today’s world cannot be truly understood, or its problems skillfully addressed, without some recognition of the forces of globalization that are affecting people and places worldwide.  

Because college students are still relatively unencumbered by many of the demands of adult life, they are in a unique position to explore the world first-hand in ways that may be either much more challenging or even impossible once they are beyond their undergraduate years. Study abroad provides a learning experience that is truly unparalleled, and every undergraduate ought to take advantage of the opportunity.

If you could say something directly to the students about the services you provide, what would that be?

Come talk to me! Come to presentations, come to international events, talk to international students, talk to American students who have been abroad, learn as much about the world as you can, and take advantage of all the great opportunities that you have as a student at Lees-McRae. Especially don’t miss out on study abroad—an experience that will show you the world and let you discover yourself in ways that you cannot imagine!

Q&A with Jenny Weatherford
By Nina MastandreaJuly 30, 2018