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Recreation alumna stays connected

Jenny Bozarth

Jenny Bozarth ’03 followed her Preview Guide’s advice to “get involved” at Illinois State, choosing to become a member of the Student Alumni Council, various Homecoming committees, Parks and Recreation Society and LeaderShape.  She is continuing her involvement as an alumna.

“One of my friends invited me to a Student Alumni Council meeting my freshman year, and it was a great group,” Bozarth said.  “We painted Reggie Redbird feet on the Homecoming parade route and had the Siblings weekend carnival.  My participation in extracurricular activities started from that first meeting.”  Bozarth said one of her favorite Illinois State events is Homecoming.  She worked on the Student Homecoming Committee to make Homecoming more about the students and continues her Homecoming involvement as a volunteer alumna.

As a member of the Parks and Recreation Society, Bozarth said she attended events that included people with similar career goals, and LeaderShape where she learned from students in other academic areas.  “As a supplement to my education, these were great learning experiences,” Bozarth said.

Bozarth is one of many family members with ties to the University.  Her paternal grandmother, Ruth Jeanne Bozarth, graduated in 1940; maternal grandfather, Mert Walker, in 1957; mother Gail (Walker) Bozarth in 1975; and sister Sarah in 2004, along with many cousins.  The family has a philanthropic nature, with many contributing monetarily to building projects, the annual fund, Redbird Club and their individual academic areas.

Jenny Bozarth chose to contribute to Kinesiology and Recreation, the department from which she received her bachelor’s degree in recreation and park administration.  “I love the recreation program, and the internships were helpful to me,” she said.  “The professional practice coordinator, Nancy Niebur, is a favorite among students, and a great lady.  I still talk with her and get her opinions on various issues.  The program is hands-on, and the students deserve the best program possible.  If I can help them have as great an experience as I did, then my money is well spent.  Plus, I like to stay connected to my university.”

Bozarth served three internships while at Illinois State – one for the Joliet Jackhammer baseball team, a second for the Bloomington YMCA and a third for the City of El Paso in their Parks and Recreation department. Those internships led to her job as assistant box office manager for the Bloomington U.S. Cellular Coliseum, where she manages employees, sells tickets and fills orders for group and season tickets.  The Coliseum is home to two teams, the Bloomington Extreme football team and the Prairie Thunder hockey team.

Before she became a student at Illinois State, Bozarth attended men’s and women’s basketball games, volleyball matches and gymnastics with her grandparents.  “My love of sports came from my grandpa, who was an incredible guy,” she said.  “He encouraged my sister and me to play sports, no matter that we were girls.  That is one of the reasons I pursued a sports related field.”

Her family legacy encouraged her to attend Illinois State. “I really did not consider any other school,” she said. ” Even though Watterson Towers has more residents than my hometown of El Paso, I was able to make many friends in the residence halls and through the organizations that I joined. I chose Illinois State because I love it and always will.”