Theinert, Litchfield named 40 under Forty honorees
Published on: August 27, 2020
Becker College is proud to announce that Jennifer Litchfield, DNP, MSN, RN, Assistant Dean and Chief Nurse Administrator in the School of Human & Animal Health, and Amanda Theinert, MFA, Director of the Master of Fine Arts in the School of Design & Technology, have been named to the Worcester Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty Class of 2020.
They were nominated for the honor, and selected as “the best among our region’s young professionals who are making us all better.” Criteria to be nominated included working in Central Massachusetts, living in Massachusetts, and being under 40 years old as of the day of the September awards ceremony.
According to the WBJ, “Each member of the Class of 2020 has found a way to thrive in the midst of an international crisis and—more often than not—are taking the lead in helping the local community fight its way through to the other side, even as they go through the same adjustments to their personal and professional lives as the rest of us.”
Jennifer Litchfield, DNP, MSN, RN, Assistant Dean and Chief Nurse Administrator
“I am enormously grateful to be recognized as an honoree of 40 under Forty,” said Litchfield. “My heart is very full! There are many brilliant, devoted, and cultured honorees within the Class of 2020. It has been an extremely challenging time during the COVID-19 pandemic, and all of the honorees have risen to the challenge with grit and grace.”
Litchfield credits her family for her success, particularly her parents and in-laws and, most especially, her husband.
“It takes a village to raise children and work full-time, let alone attend school,” she said. “My husband is tremendously supportive; we were both in school as adult learners raising a family together. He has survived the experience of working full-time, attending school, and caring for children. He is my tower of strength!”
Throughout her career, Litchfield has devoted her effort to the education of nurses and the nursing profession.
“I graduated with my Associate’s degree in Nursing (ASN) from Becker in 2006, Bachelors in Nursing (BSN) from Framingham State College in 2008, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Education in 2012 from Framingham State University, and Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) in Nursing Education in 2019 from Regis College.”
“Through most of my career, I have held a full-time and part-time job while going to school and raising my two young children. I was a Registered Nurse at both UMASS Medical Center and Reliant Medical Group, specializing in gastroenterology nursing,” she said. “However, my focus and passion since 2012 has been on nursing education, where I could form and encourage generations of nurses.”
Her nursing education career includes serving as a clinical faculty instructor at Northeastern University, a nursing resource technology coordinator at Framingham State University, and a nursing resource coordinator and member of the nursing faculty at Regis College.
“In June 2018, I accepted the position of Assistant Dean at Becker College, which has been consistently ranked as a top nursing program in Massachusetts,” Litchfield said. “My major focus is leading the improvement of nursing curriculum and policies, growing new innovative programs, and guiding the nursing program accreditations.”
Litchfield was quick to praise her colleagues.
“I am humbled to work with the amazing faculty and staff at Becker,” she said. “Dr. Yvonne Anthony (Director of Grants and Management), Dr. Diane “Kitty” Quick (Lab Coordinator), Professor Maureen Allen (Director, Post Licensure Nursing Programs), and Dr. Ann Brown (Associate Professor of Nursing) have been incredible to work with on many nursing grants.”
Litchfield noted that she especially proud of the grant she and her colleagues applied for and received for nursing simulation labs.
“I cannot wait to update our labs with state-of-the-art equipment, high fidelity simulators/mannequins, and create a “mock hospital,” she said, adding that she hopes to take the simulation labs a step further.
“One aim for the nursing simulation grant is to enhance cultural awareness,” she explained. “Currently we do not have any simulators/mannequins of color. Utilizing mannequins of color for simulation within our nursing labs would support the community need for cultural responsiveness and appropriate services to improve health equity.”
While Litchfield said she is thrilled to be celebrated for her efforts, she also tries to find a work/life balance.
“As a full-time working parent in a leadership position, especially during the pandemic, I would offer the following advice: let the mom/dad guilt go,” she said. “I try to create a schedule for myself and my children every day. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and it is okay. It’s all about balance and learning to prioritize tasks.”
In addition, she encourages people to include themselves in that list of priorities.
“We (as parents) need to remember to fill our own ‘gas tanks.’ We can’t run on fumes,” she said. “It’s so important to perform some form of self-care to take some time for ourselves.”
Amanda Theinert, MFA, Director of the Master of Fine Arts Program
Theinert has been at Becker since starting her undergraduate degree in 2006. She is now a member of the College faculty and the program director for the Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Media.
Theinert said she was grateful to be selected as a member of the 40 Under Forty Class of 2020.
“I am honored to have been nominated for this distinction, and to represent Becker College along with Jenn in this year’s cohort,” she said. “Being at Becker since 2006, it feels like a second home. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”
Theinert graduated from Becker with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interactive Media in 2010. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree from The School of Visual Arts in New York, and was hired at Becker as a full-time faculty member in 2012.
“I loved the idea of being able to work on my own interactive media projects while also teaching the next generation,” she said. “In 2017, I took on the role of program director for the Master of Fine Arts. After the launch of the MFA program, I wore a lot of hats, helping to design marketing strategies, attending and organizing recruitment events, reaching out to potential students, and working on course development, assessment, teaching, and advising.”
Theinert has been happy to see all that hard work pay off, both for the MFA program and for the entire Interactive Media department.
“I have loved watching the game program grow,” she said. “My graduating class was 20 students; now we have nearly 400 students in the Interactive Media department. It’s just an amazing group of people.”
Theinert also is involved in inspiring a love of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in the next generation of students. For several years now, she and Professor Terrasa Ulm have run a number of programs at Becker College, with the goal of showing young people the many opportunities that are available to them, and how they can turn something they are passionate about into a career.
“I’ve worked with Professor Ulm on so many great projects for young aspiring game designers,” she said. “In 2016 we launched the “ForEach Academy”, working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Each summer, a group of 7th-8th graders can come to campus for a week and learn about Robotics, Game Development, Computer Science, and Art. We’ve also done similar STEM-focused events with the Girl Scouts and the Boston CLTX.”
When she isn’t immersed in interactive media, and inspiring the next generation of game designers, Theinert puts her creativity to work in a different direction.
“I started my own business last year selling crystals, handmade decor, art, incense, and aromatherapy sprays,” she said. “It’s something fun that I’m proud of. Right now, I sell online and in a few local shops as well as at fairs and events. I hope to have my own storefront one day.”
To learn more about Becker College’s nursing and health science programs, go to https://www.becker.edu/academic/academic-programs/nursing-health-sciences/. To learn more about the Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Media, visit: https://www.becker.edu/admissions/graduate-students/master-of-fine-arts-in-interactive-media/.
To read more about this year’s Worcester Business Journal 40 under Forty Class, go to https://www.wbjournal.com/event-honorees/40-under-forty-class-of-2020. Read the article about Jennifer Litchfield at https://www.wbjournal.com/article/40-under-forty-2020-dr-jennifer-zorge-litchfield. Read about Amanda Theinert at https://www.wbjournal.com/article/40-under-forty-2020-amanda-theinert.