Staff Spotlight: Jocelyn Craighead - Administrative Coordinator Office of the Dean
June 14, 2017
As administrative coordinator in the Dean’s Office at the Dornsife School of Public Health, Jocelyn Craighead performs an array of hold-it-together, essential tasks that many take for granted – until they don’t get done. She dwells in details – coordinating schedules, supply orders and event arrangements. “Jocelyn helps me in my work and makes the school better because she understands how systems work, and makes them better with a human touch,” says Kim Menard, Dornsife’s director of marketing and communications. “When I first arrived here, she was a kind of lighthouse – you could always look to her for guidance. I think she does that both at work and outside of work as well.”
Craighead came to DSPH three years ago, after working with a nonprofit organization and bartending on the side. She’s currently studying for a bachelor’s degree in business, with minors in project management and professional studies – and still finds time for more.
On virtually every Sunday afternoon at 2pm, you’ll find Craighead working for Sunday Love, delivering hot food to the homeless at the Last Stop Recovery House in Kensington.
She got involved when a friend of Sunday Love’s founder suggested she regularly cook food for the group – but had to be nudged to go out to distribute it. Now she looks forward to the task. “We went out and I was hooked from there – I go out every Sunday, unless I’m out of town or sick,” says Craighead. She adds that the experience has “opened my eyes to a lot assumptions we have: not everyone is smelly and disheveled – some are like us, nicely dressed, employed but out ofmoney at the end of the month – or put out of a shelter during the day. The work just makes you look outside of yourself and put misconceptions aside.”
Because of her work schedule, classes and Sunday Love commitment, Jocelyn refrained from getting a dog, until her dad’s work overseeing the canine division of the Philadelphia Police Department introduced her to the Penn Vet Working Dog Center at the University of Pennsylvania. After completing a rigorous, 4-month interview process, she’s the official “foster mom” to Déjà Vu, an energetic, German Shepherd puppy. “Dej” and Jocelyn spend evenings and weekends together, but the puppy is learning and developing so quickly, she may graduate to be a working police dog in far less time than the 18 months of training usually required. “Dej is such a rock star – she’s going to save a lot of lives,” Craighead predicts proudly. “She’s special.”
Five years from now, Craighead aims to be enrolled in a PhD program, and running some sort of program in the non-profit field. “I want to learn something new every day,” she says. “I want to keep growing. If I go to bed knowing one more thing than the night before, then I’ve had a good day.”