July 19 2021 – Issue 581

Jenna Doran —
Discovering a Passion for the Environment

Jenna Doran has been a sign language interpreter in the Moline, Illinois, school district for ten years. Her job involves interpreting for one deaf or hearing-impaired student all day, facilitating communication with teachers, and helping her student integrate with the rest of the class.

Last year Jenna decided to earn a bachelor’s degree online. She had practiced meditation and heard about MIU. She was drawn to the Transcendental Meditation® technique, along with the online degree programs and the short, two-hour drive to Fairfield from her home. Jenna enrolled in August 2019 and is majoring in applied arts and sciences with a minor in sustainable living.

Jenna with her six-year-old student

“Studying at MIU has helped me get to know myself more,” said Jenna. “I have a deeper experience and connection with my students and I am enjoying my job even more.” The practice of the TM® technique plays a large part in her transformation. “I realized how smoothly my work day goes when I practice twice a day.”

Jenna has a special interest in doing environmental work. Last year she began a campaign to encourage the use of washable lunch trays, instead of single-use styrofoam, at her stepson’s high school. She talked to the school board and called 30 similar schools about their practices. Soon the high school returned to using the washable trays.

Interpreting in a 2nd grade classroom in 2019

Jenna is particularly interested in composting. She is currently working with Iowa Waste Exchange to find a way to compost the food waste at the school where she is teaching.

“I think it’s fascinating that everything returns to where it comes from and then continues to help other things grow,” she said. “It’s silly that we throw away things that could go back into the ground, and it also costs money.”

After completing her bachelor’s degree, Jenna plans to enroll in MIU’s MBA in sustainable business.

Jenna growing strawberries in her garden