Carolyn Jensen

Carolyn Jensen headshot

When I graduated from Penn State in 1983, I thought about how nice it would be to return to the University some day and teach biology, help students earn their degrees, and have those same students become colleagues. The old adage is true—often your wishes come true!

From Penn State, it was off to the University of Illinois, where I earned a masters in plant pathology. As a graduate student, I realized what I really wanted to do was teach, so that led me to Michigan State to get more experience teaching undergraduates. This was an atypical reason to pick a Ph.D. program, but that was what drove me. I left Michigan State with a doctorate in botany and plant pathology, plus a husband and two cats. I taught in the California community college system, worked for Upward Bound, and did postdoctoral work on plant photoreceptors. In 1999 I returned to State College (with aforementioned husband and the same two cats) to be closer to my parents and, lo and behold, to teach in the Biology Department, advise biology students, and watch these same students grow into productive scientists, physicians, teachers, and fellow citizens.

As part of my teaching position, I was assigned advising duties and loved it. In my current position as a DUS programs coordinator and director of the Eberly College of Science Advising Center, I continue working with students—helping them navigate the Penn State system and develop as scientists. It has been a long and unusual journey, and I could not be happier.

In my spare time, I am passionate about gardening, cooking, ballroom dancing, music, art, beer making, and wine. I love plants—they dont cry or feel pain—and I enjoy working in my flowerbeds and vegetable garden. I have been a ballroom dancer for more than twenty-five years; it is how I met my husband Phil. The original two cats, alas, have been replaced by two more, equally loved and spoiled. I know more about beer brewing than I ever wanted to know and am an avid oenophile. It is great to be back in Happy Valley.


  • B.S. in Biology, The Pennsylvania State University
  • M.S. in Plant Pathology, The University of Illinois
  • Ph.D. in Botany and Plant Pathology, Michigan State University

Current Position

Senior Undergraduate Studies Programs Coordinator and Director of Academic Advising Center, Eberly College of Science

Research & Teaching Interests

Retention in STEM fields, advising assessment, multicultural competence in academic advising, and botany/plant sciences for nonmajors

Contact Information

Office: Ritenour Building (first floor)
Phone: 814-863-3889