It’s something of a Livengood family tradition — enroll at Illinois, get trained to help others, then go out and put it to good use.
“My parents — Ted and Sue —were both teachers and received degrees from Illinois. They truly established a strong ethic to empower others to be better people,” says proud son Jake Livengood (MSW '01, social work), director of career services at Tufts University’s School of Medicine.
“My wife, Jen, and I graduated from the master of social work program and were graduate assistants with Family and Graduate Housing. We provided educational, social and recreational programming for the residents there.
“More broadly, we were also ambassadors for the C-U area, university and sometimes even the U.S. as a whole. I remember our weekly Friday night coffee hours at Goodwin-Green Apartments and how our Meijer trips for residents were sometimes one of the first experiences that an international student had in the U.S.
“It was a huge honor for us, as we grew up in Philo and Tolono, and the C-U area is home. I fondly remember our colleagues and our supervisor, Jeanette Weider, who currently works with U of I Housing.
“A few years later, my sister, Heidi, enrolled in the MSW program and worked as a graduate assistant with Family and Graduate Housing as well. She is now a school social worker in Champaign Unit 4. My other sister, Heather, is a teacher in Unit 4 as well, so education definitely runs in the family.
"My nephew, Geddy, continues the tradition today as an MSW student at Illinois. In a year or so, that will be four graduates in my family from the U of I MSW program.
“My grad assistant experience was instrumental in my career path, as I work in college student services and still get to be an ambassador to help students — but now along their career journey as career director at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.
"Jen now helps others as an instructional designer for post-graduate medical education at Harvard Medical School.
"Life takes you to many different places, and many of my professional experiences — and those of my family as well — can be traced back to time at Illinois.”