By Sara Humphries

Reinhardt has impacted Jennifer Matthews's career immensely. When Jennifer attended Reinhardt, she was a liberal arts student. She didn’t know when she came to Reinhardt that her major would change completely and put her on a path of new discovery.

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Jennifer Matthews

"I started off intending to pursue a 4-year degree in landscape design, but I was intimidated by the all-male class and decided to change direction. It is humorous to think I was intimidated by an all-male class because it would not bother me today. “

Matthews had mentors to inspire her onto a new path of public relations and marketing. Her dreams of getting a landscape design degree changed when she met Dr. Floyd Falany.

“Out of the classroom I had many mentors but at the top of the list is Dr. Floyd Falany, former President of Reinhardt. Dr. Falany would take me to speaking engagements and have me tell groups why I loved Reinhardt and what a difference it made in my life. He had the greatest impact on my public relations ability. He taught me how to speak to a group of people, keep them engaged, make them laugh if possible and to be sincere in what you are talking about. Dr. Falany could address a crowd of 1,000 or talk to you one-on-one. He taught me to be passionate about what I was talking about and how to relate it to the audience.”

Since Jennifer graduated from Reinhardt in 1990, she has had a variety of positions, including those in marketing and public relations that continued her chosen path from Reinhardt.

"I worked in marketing for Cartersville Medical Center and cannot brag on the clinical staff enough. They taught me so much about healthcare and people in general. I saw everything from life to death, and it gave me a lot of perspective on how precious life is, how quickly it can be taken away and how lucky we are if we are healthy human beings.”

Inspired by her experience at Cartersville Medical Center, Matthews shifted away from marketing to a focus on children. Currently, she is the After-School Program (ASP) Director for the City of Cartersville School System, where each afternoon the program cares for between 200-230 students from Pre-K to 8th grade from dismissal until 6 PM.

“I could not have guessed I would be in this position 5 years ago, but I firmly believe God led me here because the children, the staff and school system are a blessing to my life in so many ways. To be a part of a child's life is such a gift; to make a difference, have fun with them, give their parents the confidence they are safe, and be taken care of is a wonderful honor.”

Matthews loved her experience at Reinhardt with many opportunities to grow as a student and as a person. The relationships and connections she made will last a lifetime. The guidance from her professors continues to have a significant impact on how she approaches her work.

"Reinhardt has always been a special place, not just an institution of higher education but a place that sincerely cares for the students and staff. I believe Reinhardt taught me how to have confidence in myself and my abilities. It also taught me about relationships-how to work with people, truly care for others and make a difference in the world no matter how small the act. Reinhardt gave me character and integrity, the two most important impressions you leave with people while you are on this earth, and when you are no longer here."