Jennifer Cummings-Tutmaher, Director of Enrollment & Student Success
Celebrating Women in the Workplace at NPRC
March is Women’s History Month, when we celebrate the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. With this series, we intend to highlight some of Northern Pennsylvania Regional College’s (NPRC) women and their contributions to the College and higher education as a whole.
Jennifer Cummings-Tutmaher, a Youngsville native, began in higher education over 23 years ago as a Community Assistant (RA) at Slippery Rock University. She maintained this position throughout the majority of her time in college. When returning home to Youngsville, PA, after graduation, she worked at Whirley Industries while applying for jobs working in college residence halls. She accepted her first position in Lewiston, Idaho, at Lewis-Clark State College. She attributes this accomplishment to the great mentors she had while an RA. It was through this position and other experiences at Slippery Rock University that she was exposed to a variety of leadership opportunities. She embraced the diversity, travel, new people, and opportunities afforded to her during those four years.
After working her entire career out west, she relocated back to Pennsylvania and learned about the work of Educational Consortium of the Upper Allegheny (ECUA) and the involvement of her former high school principal, Duane Vicini. She never thought that she’d have the opportunity to use her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration in Warren County, but when a job was posted for the administrative assistant to Founding President Nairn, she believed in the mission and efforts of the ECUA and wanted to be part of this work. She joined the team in Fall of 2017.
As the College grew, she became the first Director of Enrollment and Student Success to supervise the staff of Student Success Specialists. Her passion and commitment to our service area shine through the successes of her team. Jen has a history of effective mentorship of her employees, and it’s very important to her to find the talents of individuals and help them strive for personal success. This is part of her continued leadership. She ensures that she is on the ground level as she leads her team, so she can give them the tools to empower them to blaze their own paths to success.
“When you are a leader, that simply means that you have the privilege of collaborating with many people to achieve your goals,” says Cummings-Tutmaher. “Flexibility and creativity flourish when teammates feel like they are heard and appreciated.”
When asked about the importance of higher education, she believes that higher education itself won’t significantly impact rural Pennsylvania, but a college that takes the time to invest in the communities of northwestern PA by identifying areas of need and filling niches that are specific to the area will create this impact. This is one of the main reasons she is passionate about NPRC.
“We are doing just that,” Cummings-Tutmaher says. “Living, breathing, and supporting the people and businesses right now in the ways they need. As NPRC grows, so will our contributions to the region and I am proud to be part of that.”
Jennifer closes with a message to all women who may be reading this – Choose your friends wisely, as those you surround yourself with directly impact your future and your choices. Choose passionate, caring, and motivated people that support you, listen to you, and are willing to help you achieve your dreams. Speaking of dreams… it’s never too late. Don’t let anyone or your own mental self-talk, tell you that you cannot try something new no matter how quirky, how unique, or “out of the normal” it may seem. Want to take up finger painting at 45? Why not?! Maybe going to school to learn about herbs is your passion at 12. Don’t let anyone stop you… it could lead to a multi-million-dollar business when you are 35. Challenge the “norms” and be your authentic self!
Jennifer is only one of the inspiring women we are celebrating this month. Join us throughout March for other features Celebrating Women in the Workplace at NPRC and help us share these inspiring pieces to open a world of possibilities for our local young women!