Janessa has served as the Department Coordinator for International Studies since August 2017. In this role, Janessa acts as the first point of contact for the department, assisting students (whether perspective, current, or alumni), faculty, and community members in finding the most appropriate resources available. She works with the department chair to coordinate all departmental activities, manages the budgets, and coordinates guest speakers and department events. She also works closely with students through advising the department student groups and supervising department student employees. She serves as the Associate Editor of Bildhaan: An International Journal of Somali Studies.
Janessa has her BA in Psychology from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. She completed the UMN-TCs initial teaching licensure program in Secondary Communication Arts & Literature, nearing her Masters of Education. She has a passion for critical literacy and working toward equity through education. She has worked previously in secondary education, higher education student support programs, and corporate training and development. Much of her free time is spent with her partner and kiddos, or mending and upcycling textiles. She enjoys sharing her love of coffee and music with anyone who drops by her office.