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Alumni Spotlight: Jennifer Sieracki (Olmstead), Class of 2021

The accomplished CEO, author, publisher, and horse farm owner reflects on her years at Virginia Wesleyan

University News | February 21, 2024

Jennifer Sieracki Olmstead graduated from VWU in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in comprehensive liberal studies with an emphasis in the humanities and social sciences. Olmstead, who first started college when she was 17, says that her journey toward earning her degree did not follow the typical route.

“While my extended, interrupted college experience is not unique, it is atypical. The relaunch of the final four semesters of my college undergrad career at an advanced age allowed me to interpret some of the content differently and apply and combine it with my established professional and personal life and interests. Hence the advantage of lifelong learning.” 

Olmstead’s 34 year career in non-profit leadership has included many and varied roles: as a CEO, author, publisher and horse farm owner. She has served as CEO for Seton Youth Services, an organization that provides emergency shelter, counseling and support for youth in crisis, for more than 11 years. In addition, she's been the publisher for Back Bay Journal for 14 years, and an author of contemporary fiction for 17 years. Her literary works include “Men Among Sirens,” “The Stray,” “Earthbound Creatures,” and “From Afar,” the four volumes in the Virginia Southern Point Collection of contemporary fiction. She’s also been a horse farm owner for 26 years.

Olmstead notes that her time at Virginia Wesleyan impacted her success in many ways. “Aside from invaluable and broadened academic knowledge and skills, I gained practical knowledge about better managing a variety of issues, such as the science behind managing my horse farm and environmental sustainability.”

Some of her fondest memories of her time at Virginia Wesleyan include when she first realized that Professor Scott Ramsey, who taught the environmental science/biology course she took in 2019, was the son of Professor Neil Ramsey, the psychology professor she had in 1993 during her early years in college.

Olmstead also remembers when Dr. Michael Hall asked to read one of her books a few years ago during a semester when she was taking an upper-level literature class. “Decades earlier, as a 17-year-old in my freshman English class, my professor had told me that I should be a writer. Dr. Hall then read another of my books and weighed in on my work (favorably, thank goodness).”

She notes that the professors that had the greatest impact on her were Dr. Phil Rock, Dr. Michael Hall, and Drs. Scott and Neil Ramsey.

She is still connected to VWU. “I am partnering with Professor Malcom and VWU students on the new Seton campus' environmental restoration and sustainability project, Mission Greenspace, which Dr. Malcolm and I developed.”

She’s also considering enrolling in a master’s degree program at VWU.