WCDA Graduate Student Spotlight: Jenni McKay

Jenni McKay

What is your favorite part about being a graduate student in the career development field? Besides all of the great learning I’m doing in the areas of counseling skill building, career development theory, assessment tools, and resources, I also greatly value the opportunities I have to build relationships with not only my classmates and professors, but other career development professionals working in the field in a variety of settings. As a graduate student, my training is focused on academic advising in post-secondary institutions as well as adult professional career development.

Favorite career development resource: As a student, and likely beyond, the best career development resource that I have is the connections I’ve made with mentors, seasoned career development professionals, my professors and peers.

Advice you have for fellow career development practitioners: As an emerging career development practitioner, the best advice that I have received so far is to always be open and accepting. As a career development professional, you will encounter people from all walks of life, each with a unique story; never assume you know what is best for your clients and always accept that the client is the expert on themselves.

Advice you have for students/clients:  Get to know yourself, and then put yourself out there! Take the time to know your beliefs and values, your skills and interests, and then once you have an idea, start getting involved in opportunities that align with those things.


  • Movie: Big Fish
  • Book: Harry Potter series and A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series
  • Color: Yellow
  • Song: Send Me On My Way- Rusted Root, This Must Be The Place- Talking Heads
  • Food: Margherita Pizza, Mango Coconut Curry
  • TV Show: Twin Peaks
  • Game: Apples to Apples
  • Hobbies: Kayaking, painting, reading, live music, camping and hiking with my dogs
  • Quote: “To be still is to be stupid. To be stupid is to die. And so, we shall live.” –Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl.


  • Currently earning a Masters in Counseling with an emphasis in Higher Education and Career Counseling from University of Wisconsin- Whitewater
  • B.S. Conservation Biology, University of Wisconsin- Madison
  • B.S. Cultural Anthropology, University of Wisconsin- Madison

Favorite piece of technology: My iPhone, specifically my iCalendar and Notes apps. My life would be so unorganized without my calendar and newly developed habit of adding appointments, meetings and events as soon as I become aware of them. Also, without recording things in Notes throughout the day, I truly believe all of my original and creative ideas would be lost forever! I try to stay up on the latest technology and use pretty much anything that makes my everyday life easier, from various apps on my iPhone to my Ninja Blender! Currently, I regularly use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenni-mckay-aa354230/

Tell us one skill that you can teach to others?:  I love teaching people that there can be multiple correct solutions to a single problem, and that the answer for most of life’s hardest questions is ‘it depends’.

About Marie Smith

Marie Smith specializes in helping people gain clarity, explore options, leverage strengths, and set and implement goals with accountability. She is creative, intuitive, and incredibly resourceful. She serves on the board of directors, the professional development committee, and the technology committee for the Wisconsin Career Development Association. Marie Smith teaches the Facilitating Career Development program for the National Career Development Association http://facilitatingcareerdevelopment.com/