McArdle Blog ~ 04/16/2015



Welcome Jenny Schroeder, Cancer Biology Program Coordinator

Starting from recruitment all the way to graduation, the graduate program coordinators are always there to guide students throughout their time in graduate school and help them achieve their goals. It was this opportunity to work closely with graduate students that led Jenny Schroeder to accept the position of Cancer Biology Graduate Program Coordinator. To learn more about our new coordinator and her outlook on the program, I sat down with Jenny for a one-on-one interview.


Hometown: St. Louis Park, a Minneapolis suburb

Undergraduate Institution: University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
  • Bachelor’s degree: History

Graduate Institution: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

  • Masters degree: Library Science

Employment: University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Rare Books Librarian, Ebling Library, Health Sciences Learning Center (2003-2009)
  • Graduate Program Coordinator, Food Science Department (2009-2012)
  • Associate Student Status Examiner, Education Academic Services, School of Education (2013-2014)

Question: First off, do you prefer to go by Jenny?

Jenny: Actually Jenny is my official name. It’s not a nickname, and not short for Jennifer in my case. Growing up I knew a lot of Jennifer’s, but my parents decided to name me Jenny.

So you’re originally from Minnesota and went to undergraduate and graduate school at UW-Eau Claire and UW-Milwaukee respectively. What drew you to come to Madison?

Jenny: My fiancé Brad, who I had met as a sophomore in undergrad, got a job in Madison at the Dane County Sheriff’s office. I followed him here and found a job on campus.

You’re referring to your job at Ebling as a rare books librarian. What did that position entail?

Jenny: I catalogued rare medical texts and bound dissertations written in the mid-1700s-1800s. However, the position was cut in 2009, and I took a position as the Food Science Graduate Program Coordinator working mostly with Master’s students and direct admits. During that time I made some use of my history major by helping put together a display of the Babcock butter fat test. I also helped develop an ice cream flavor in honor of Dr. Babcock’s 167th birthday called Dr. Babcock’s Best, which was a vanilla based ice cream with fudge chocolate and caramel swirl.

Wow, that is pretty cool (no pun intended!). So why did you want the job as graduate coordinator for the Cancer Biology Program?

Jenny: After working in the Food Science Department, I worked in the School of Education Dean’s Office helping undergraduate professional programs for elementary education and kinesiology. The work was seasonal with ups and downs; application season was always the busiest followed by down periods. Over time, I missed working with graduate students and wanted a more complex job.

Well, since starting in mid-January, you’ve gone through your first recruiting season. How’s the job so far?

Jenny: I like it so far, it’s nice to be back on this end of campus. But I’ve definitely had to adjust to things that have changed since my days at the Ebling library.
Like what?
For example, now I can just apply for e-warrants for students rather than dealing with paper warrants.

What have been the best/worst or most challenging aspects of the job so far?

Jenny: The best is definitely working with the graduate students, who have been very helpful and welcoming. The most challenging part was learning the ins and outs of recruiting and scheduling the faculty for interviews. The worst part? Waiting for people (the recruits) to say yes after recruiting. April 15 is the deadline, and it has been tricky timing as to when to send reminder emails.

Well congratulations on getting through your first recruiting season! Do you have a message for the current graduate students?

Jenny: Just that I have an open door policy. I’m available anytime, just stop by my office. My hours are generally 6:30 am – 3 pm (I have to go pick up my daughter from school).

Tell me about your family. Any pets? What are your hobbies?

Jenny: My husband, Brad, and I have been married since 2002. He’s been a deputy for Dane County since 2000. We have a 5-year-old daughter named Sawyer. We just got a new puppy named Gus. He’s a 5-month-old German short-haired pointer being trained for pheasant hunting. As for hobbies and interests, I love Mexican food, watching Game of Thrones, Antiques Roadshow, Gold Rush, a lot of Disney Channel nowadays, and broadways. Sports-wise, I like hockey and football. Oh and we also have a family cabin in Minnesota that we like to go to.

Lastly, are there any ideas or plans that you have to help run the program more efficiently?

Jenny: I think we could use promotional clips of current students—a “year-in-the-life” time-lapse video or an Instagram account showing current students doing fun things around Madison—for recruiting students to see, show them all the fun things we do besides the snowy weekend that they’re here for.

Thank you Jenny for sharing your story with us. Welcome to the Cancer Biology Program!

~Funita Phan