Spalding University associate professor of social work and alumna Jennifer Jewell ’01 was named as one of five Women of Distinction by the Center for Women and Families at their 27th Anniversary Celebration of Service & Survival on Feb. 13. In addition to teaching at Spalding, Jewell, Ph.D., LCSW, has spent her adult life advancing the lives of women and girls in the Greater Louisville area through her work as a scholar and human rights advocate.
Jewell was a young, single mother who struggled financially as she pursued her bachelor’s degree at the University of Louisville. She quickly realized that she was not alone in her situation; Jewell met other single mothers at the university and together the noticed “how poor women are marginalized in our society,” she has said. This inspired Jewell, and in 1998 she helped to start Women in Transition (WIT), a local grassroots organization run by and for poor people. She held an unpaid role of executive director and community organizer of WIT from 1998-2004 and still serves as an active board member.
After obtaining her a dual bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish, Jewell went on to get her master’s degree in social work at Spalding University and a doctorate of social work from the University of Louisville. She has been on the Spalding faculty since 2007 and is a campus leader and facilitator of Spalding’s Diversity Consciousness Action Group (DCAG) which raises awareness and takes action on structures of oppression on campus and in the community.
Jewell’s scholarship centers on using child advocacy and community organizing strategies to improve children’s health and on the development of community organizations by poor women in the U.S. and China. She is an engaged and active community volunteer with Community Coordinated Childcare, Hawthorne Elementary School and Meyzeek Middle School.