Michele Jersak is a counselor at Century College and has worked in the Minnesota State Colleges and University system for close to 20 years. In addition to meeting with students one-on-one, she has taught classes in career development, leadership development, and first-year experience. She is the lead project developer of the GPS LifePlan project, a holistic, open-access online planning tool for students seeking to navigate the college experience and find the career that will help them affirm their values and utilize their talents.
While most of her siblings entered the military, Michele opted for college, taking advantage of an early enrollment program to attend while still in high school. Michele is a graduate of North Hennepin Community College and earned her B.A. degree in psychology at the University of Minnesota, where she also completed her M.A. degree in educational psychology: counseling and student personnel psychology. Her professional interests include using technology through online learning and supplemental support and expanding flexible options to access services and resources for students and others seeking career and life planning opportunities. Michele’s mixed ethnic family continues to inspire her interests in open-access education, economic equity, and social justice. Her father worked the family farm, trained in electronics through the U.S. Army, and worked with computers beginning in the 1960s, while her mother grew up in El Paso, Texas, and worked in a warehouse while raising the family. Michele grew up in a stable working-class community but realized the many challenges that faced her siblings and members of her community at an early age. Through her work at Century College, she helps students develop their futures through counseling appointments, career mentoring support, and engaged classroom teaching. In 2014, Michele joined Communication Across Barriers as its event coordinator for the state of Minnesota. Michele was trained in 2013 as a CAB-Certified Poverty Coach and desires to help our institutions to better serve students who live in the crisis of poverty.