10-second bio: Meet Jerlena Griffin-Desta, world traveler at heart
Name: Jerlena Griffin-Desta
Title: Deputy to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Executive Director of Student Services
Department/Unit: Student Affairs/Student Services
Location: 9th floor, Franklin
When I started working at UCOP: August 2009
What I do for UCOP in five words or less: Help ensure student access and success
Best part about working for OP: I experience every day the congruence between my personal values and my professional priorities: educational access, equity and inclusion.
Something you don’t know about me: I have traveled and lived on every continent except Antarctica and recently learned through DNA testing on my dad’s side that I have cousins in southwestern Ghana, the Nzema people.
One weird fact about the town I grew up in: According to local folklore, St. Marys, Ga., claims to be the second oldest city in the United States (established 1787). It would be the oldest, but St. Augustine, Fla. (90 miles away) received their charter first!
If I could have any job in the world (besides the one I have now) I would be: globetrotting as an anthro-cultural observer of peoples from all over the world. Living in their communities for months at a time, as a participant outsider, documenting their customs and traditions and noting the cultural variations between peoples. I guess I’m describing a cultural anthropologist, not necessarily as an academic, but rather as a traveler, a wanderer, with deep respect for the ways in which people make sense of their lives through culture.