Jillian Johnson is Defining Herself in Her Own Right

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If senior Jillian Johnson were a kitchen appliance, she’d be a blender.
“I take in healthy information and experiences I have, and when I’m done processing them, I give them out in mentorship,” Jillian said.
Jillian first described herself as an appliance during an interview for her current position at Peckham, a nonprofit vocational rehabilitation organization in Lansing. Her response reveals her outlook on life, largely influenced by her time at Olivet. Jillian wants to be a part of something bigger than herself. Her desire to mentor others ties into her Olivet experiences.
Jillian is pursuing a psychology major with a minor in business and is president of both Nu Gamma Xi and Psi Chi. She works in the admissions office, participates in the Mentor Collective and is a member of the Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI). She is also a fellow of the President’s Leadership Institute.
When Jillian mentors students, she often shares her own positive experiences on the following topics. Here, Jillian share her thoughts on …
Her career goals:
I see myself in the nonprofit world, and I’m hoping to do something with underrepresented minorities and hopefully someday own my own nonprofit. There’s a part of me that really wants to focus on domestic violence. But in my heart, I love higher education, so I’d love to work with that as well. Higher education wasn’t preached enough at the high school I came from, and many people don’t know college is an option. I want to create an enrichment center to increase college readiness.
Women often reference themselves as being related to someone else. But we need to define ourselves in our own right. Like, “I’m Jillian Johnson. I’m a part of WLI. I don’t belong to anyone.”
I catch myself putting myself down all the time. At work, I’ll say “I’m just an intern.” My colleagues tell me, “No, you can’t say that.” When you do that, you’re demeaning yourself before someone even gets to know you. We have to treat ourselves with the respect we deserve. We often don’t give ourselves enough credit for who we are and what we’ve accomplished. And women are often the first to give somebody else the credit. We have to change that.
Her relationship with Traci Corey, WLI director, ATHENA International Board of Directors member and OC presidential spouse:
Traci is always treating me with the same respect as she gives anyone else. She treats me like an adult, not just a college student. I don’t think I show Traci how much I appreciate her, but I really do. One time I said something degrading to myself, and she told me, “You wouldn’t say that to little Jillian.” She puts things into perspective. She cuts out those doubts that you may verbalize or think.
Her relationship with her sister, Jamilia, WLI coordinator and recruiter:
Jamilia was the only sibling I ever got to go to school with. My other siblings are older. When I was in kindergarten, she was in fifth grade. I’d tell my friends, ‘That’s my sister! I’m going to go see my big sister!’ I was proud and happy that I was able to ask her how her day was going.
With us both being at Olivet, I think it’s cool to see what the College has done for us in different ways. She was a big part of getting me prepared for college. I have a piece of home here with me.
What she’ll take from her college experience:
My college journey has been about finding myself. It sounds so corny, but Olivet has given me the opportunity to make my dreams come true. It’s put those top-shelf items on the bottom-shelf now for me — mostly because of the people here.
When I leave here, I want to be able to say I gave it my all. I want to say I gave 110% into everything I was doing.
To learn more about The University of Olivet, contact the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu.


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