Jenny Ripka '17, an adult services librarian at the Naperville Public Library, credits interdisciplinary expe...
Office of Communications
2 East South Street
Galesburg, IL 61401-4999
Assistant Wisconsin Coordinator & Executive Assistant, Sitka Salmon Shares
Major in Environmental Studies, Minor in Spanish Literature
What have you been doing since Commencement?
I interned over the summer with the Alaska Marine Conservation Council in Anchorage, Alaska, helping them run a community-supported fishery that distributes sustainable sockeye salmon to Alaskan consumers. The experience taught me a great deal about the Alaskan fishing industry and landed me a job with our very own Sitka Salmon Shares, which is headquartered in Galesburg. I'm working for them out of Madison, Wisconsin, providing capacity to their local operations as their assistant Wisconsin coordinator and executive assistant. I'm loving the small-company culture, and I'm learning more and more every day. It gives me a sense of pride to work for a company that emphasizes quality and environmental, social, and economic sustainability throughout their operations. We're actively engaged in changing the seafood system, and it's exciting to be a part of a something so revolutionary. Anyways, in short, since Commencement I've fulfilled humble aspirations to join the middle class, and I'm fortunate to be enjoying my foray into the professional world.
How did Knox help you get there?
Knox helped me get to where I am today by influencing my thoughts and ideas in a positive way, inspiring me to engage with and think critically about the world. They gave me opportunities—like my internship in Alaska—to explore professional interests that related to my area of study, and empowered me financially to pursue them. Lastly, my education gave me the confidence to to use the skills it gave me in an effective way.
What activities were you involved in at Knox?
While I was at Knox, I was greatly involved with Knox Ultimate. It's one of the things I miss the most about Knox, and I'll always look back fondly upon my days at Alma Mater, slingin' discs on the Old Main lawn, or wherever and whenever I could for that matter. I was honored to captain the team my senior year, a leadership experience to which I attribute a great deal of personal growth, and I'm extremely proud to have been on the first Knox Ultimate team to make a Nationals appearance, placing fifth among D3 schools my junior year with my fellow River Rats. My involvement with the sport has enabled me to find community and friends among it's players wherever I go, but I don't think I'll ever feel as close to them as I did to my teammates back at Knox.
I was also part of Solar Energy at Knox, an initiative that—under the tenacious leadership of Sofia Tagkaloglou '18, and with the help of Professor Peter Schwartzman—successfully installed solar panels on campus. Lastly, I was a 2017 class officer, working with a few fellow officers to organize senior class events and bring in Eva Longoria as our Commencement speaker.