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Jenni Smith

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Public Policy and Administration



Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Jenni has spent most of her life in Mississippi. After coming out as a lesbian while attending a very conservative college, she witnessed first hand the fear and prejudice that still exist in our society. In the years after graduating with Honors in 1997, Jenni became increasingly more involved in her community and in politics. In 2004, she co-founded Unity Mississippi - an LGBTQI non-profit focusing on education, awareness, and unity among the LGBTQI/allied communities - which then created OUToberfest, the first and only event of its kind in Mississippi. Jenni served Unity Mississippi continuously for five years as Vice-Chair of the Board and as Chair of the Special Events Committee. In 2006, she was elected President of Mississippi National Organization for Women, an office she held for 4 years. She was recently elected to represent the Mid-South Region on NOW's National Board. Jenni holds a bachelor's degree from Mississippi College in Sociology/Administration of Justice and a Master's in Public Policy Administration with a concentration in Advanced Feminist Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Jenni hopes to work in the non-profit sector and possibly pursue her doctorate and become a professor. She currently resides in Jackson, Mississippi with her two cats, Macavity and Trouble.

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