Alumni Spotlight: Jocelyn Hernandez ’16

Meet Jocelyn Hernandez, a 2016 Communication and Spanish graduate. Jocelyn received her graduate degree at the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. Jocelyn is currently a Senior Program Manager of High School Programs at Horizons for Youth. She has worked in the Non-Profit Sector since graduation in 2016, primarily working in college access and creating programming for 9th-12th graders. Currently, she oversees a large cohort of high schoolers and provides academic, financial, career and health-focused programming for them. Jocelyn is also in a program at UChicago that dives deeply into Social Sector Leadership and Non-Profit Management.

As a student at Denison, Jocelyn thought she would work in operations or marketing. The biggest thing for her was understanding that while she majored in communication, many of the skills she built at Denison applied to a variety of careers. However, she knew that her passions lied in social justice and creating equity and equality for all, and at 21, it seemed the best path to this was through the social sector, which ultimately changed her career path. In addition, Jocelyn appreciated how her courses dove deeply into topics such as gender and race, and feels that they all laid a foundation for the equity work she does today. “Without understanding how the system works, it cannot be reformed or changed. The Denison Communication department did an excellent job at breaking down theory and rhetoric and laying a foundation of understanding our world through a critical lens.”

Jocelyn advises students to keep learning! “This does not just mean from school, but from books, articles, and even social media. Much of the work to create change happens outside of universities and just because you spent four years learning, does not mean you cannot keep learning. Attend workshops, look for local events in your city! There are always ways to learn and grow”!

“Something you should be aware of is how we are going up against centuries of historical inequity and injustice. When working in this field, there are many natural barriers, and it can sometimes be disheartening or cause you to make mistakes or lose hope. Remember your WHY and remind yourself why you do the work you do. My WHY is that I believe anything that has been constructed can be deconstructed, and I carry that lens in all that I do!”

Connect with Jocelyn on LinkedIn.

By Maya Coppola
Maya Coppola