Behind the Scenes: Questions for Janna Behrens
By Jennifer Potanka ’11, Staff Writer
What is your position at the College? What does a typical day at work entail?

I am the Director of International Experience and Assistant Dean of Students. Most days are spent advising students on international study and work opportunities, either in person at the Career Center or via email. I correspond with faculty about study abroad programs (or their advisees who hope to study abroad). There’s usually some event planning, too, since I work with organizations who want to visit campus and meet with students.

Where did you grow up?

My father was in the military, so my family moved around quite a bit. We lived in several different states and also overseas. The longest place I have lived was Boston and I was there [for] nearly 10 years before moving to the Valley.

What was your childhood like?

We moved every few years, which was mostly exciting because we had the opportunity to see new people and places. I have an older sister and we loved to be outside — biking, swimming, playing games with other kids in the neighborhood. TV was only allowed in only minimally, so we also read quite a bit and learned to entertain ourselves.

How did you end up in Amherst?

I was working in study abroad at Tufts University and was ready for a change professionally. As much as I love urban environments, the Valley seems to have the best of both rural and urban worlds. (Although the longer I live here the more I realize the Valley isn’t so rural... which I thought when I first moved here!)

How many years have you worked at Amherst? What positions did you hold before Amherst?

I started in the winter of 2007. I was working in study abroad at Tufts before coming here.

What is your family like? Do you have any pets?

My parents live in N.H., I have an older sister and a teenage nephew who live in eastern Mass., and no pets.

What is your favorite place?

Hard question to answer, I don’t have just one!

What is your favorite thing about Amherst College?

I really enjoy working with students and learning about what motivates them to study or work abroad. The people I work with are great colleagues, too.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m a potter, and while I haven’t been working with clay as regularly as I used to, I am starting to get back into it.

What is your favorite hobby?

My new favorite hobby is cheesemaking which I started about a year [ago]. My favorite one to make is goat cheese.

Do you have a daily routine before and after work?

I try to bike to work (weather permitting). I live in Easthampton and can piece together the bike paths to get to Amherst. It’s one of my favorite things about living in the Valley.

Issue 06, Submitted 2010-10-20 01:15:02