Honoring Women’s History Month with another powerful woman on campus, Jen Escher

Honoring+Women%E2%80%99s+History+Month+with+another+powerful+woman+on+campus%2C+Jen+Escher

Emma Lewandowski, Editor in Chief

Adjunct professor in the English department and avid Maya Angelou reader, Jen Escher has taught English for five years and GEN 101 for two at Marian, while she was also once part of the Working Family Grant when it was initially launched. Escher is also an alumni and graduated from Marian with her Bachelors of Science in 2007, so her history in being a powerful woman on our campus is extensive.  

Not only does Escher contribute within the classroom by creating an enriching experience for students, she contributes “love, as hokey as that sounds… Love is what makes me wanna shine a light on the injustices I see by going on one of my rants in class (ya’ll know what I’m talking about)…”

To Escher, it’s also “what drives me to encourage my students that they can do college if they put in the work… [and] what makes me keep it real when I think some truth needs to be told as well.” 

She continues, “I care deeply for people in my life, including my students and beyond the classroom… I guess that’s what I contribute. That and maybe a few inappropriate jokes and comments.” 

Being seen as a powerful woman on campus especially came as a surprise to Escher, as she notes, “I guess I have never seen myself that way, so I had to sit with it for a while to figure out how I am powerful and how I have been defining that.” 

In defining this “power” she wields and what this means, she reflects inward and says, “I think I am myself – for better or for worse – and that can appear powerful. I am direct but I am fair. I am genuine and will take responsibility when I screw up. I am not good at faking it or glad handing or telling people what they want to hear.” 

Escher is unapologetic, and even says, “My face is like a ViewFinder into every thought and emotion I have, so I have to own it.” With this also comes a heightened sense of being “keenly aware of myself and my effect on others, as well as [being] freakishly empathetic.” 

These spotlights come in honor of March being Women’s History Month, and it may seem that there is a still existing notion that “every month should be Women’s History Month,” meaning that recognizing powerful, inspirational women should not be confined to just one month out of the year. Escher echoes this desire to acknowledge women every day, week, month, and so on, in saying that “respect, empathy, and recognition should extend beyond that timeline and into the every day.” 

Reassurance and recognition can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and Escher encourages one way of doing so “by simply acknowledging each other.” She reminds us the importance there is in simple kindness, and says to also just “tell someone when they have done something well or you find yourself appreciating them. Don’t be afraid to look stupid or weak… Be vulnerable. Be genuine in your interactions.”  

This also comes with sometimes having to practice that cliché, “putting yourself in their shoes,” something Escher recommends to avoid quick judgment that we may too often resort to 

But she says too, keeping it real in her same fashion, “That being said, sometimes people are just assholes, in which case it’s okay to step away.” 

From having positive influence on students and each environment she interacts in, to being unapologetically herself and “freakishly empathetic” (yet still knowing when to walk away from assholes), Jen Escher has contributed greatly to the educational and interpersonal aspects of Marian as a whole.

And as an avid Angelou reader and supporter, this influence could partially stem from the “framed Maya Angelou quote that has moved with me from six different residences through various life-altering disasters over the last sixteen years.” She says that when struggling, especially with the sometimes challenging concept of self-acceptance (that she says “We need to be reminded” to practice ), the quote “never fails to help me heal and simply accept myself.” 

So, if you are wondering how to identify your own power or are struggling thinking of yourself as a powerful individual, keep this in mind as Escher does: “’A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself.’” -Maya Angelou