Joining the Marine Corps seemed like a crazy idea, but it launched Jen’s career and it gave her so many tools that she has used for the rest of her life. Check out this great interview with Jen Furlong about her experience in the Marine Corps as a Public Affairs Officer.
Public Affairs in the Marine Corps
Jen has been in the communication field for 25 years, with experience in public affairs, community relations, writing, editing, and broadcasting. She has taught basic communication and public speaking courses at the college level for 15 years. Jen is an author, a TEDx presenter, founder of CommunicationTwentyFourSeven – a communication-focused blog, and a breast cancer survivor.
First Female Editor
She served active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and was the first female Marine to be appointed editor of the Quantico Sentry newspaper and the first female Marine to be awarded the Sergeant Major Dan Daly Award by the Marine Corps Historical Foundation. She was also a recipient of the Best Feature Writer award by the Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association. Jen was medically discharged due to a back injury after serving 3 years and 2 months. Prior to her discharge, she was presented with the Navy Achievement Medal.
She received a B.A and M.A. in Communication from George Mason University and is currently a Ph.D. student studying English Language and Applied Linguistics with the University of Birmingham – UK. Her passion is working with students, specifically veterans, and helping them achieve their academic and career goals. She and her husband, Greg, have been married for 22 years. Their daughter, Sarah, is a junior at Georgia Southern University and their son, Nate, is an LCpl serving active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and is currently stationed in Iwakuni, Japan.
Joining the Military
Jen decided to join the military when she found out that her parents had no way to pay for college. She saw it as a way to do something new with her life. Her mom refused to sign the paperwork so she waited until her 18th birthday to enlist. It was hard for her. She committed to join the Marine Corps and no one around her supported her choice to do that. That made boot camp hard because she had all those people telling her she couldn’t do it. She made it through by letting those voices go and to realize what she was capable of.
She served in PA and is thankful for the training she received in the military and the experiences that she got to be a part of it. The Marine Corps really set her life on the path it is today.
Reveals Who You Are
“Some say they believe the military helped to mold them into who they are. I believe the military helped reveal who I am. When I decided to join, I didn’t have the support of my family or my friends. Even my recruiter didn’t have very much faith in me at the beginning. I ended up graduating in the honor platoon. Anyway, even though my time wearing the uniform was relatively short (just over 3 years), the lessons I learned while in the Corps still carry me through life today. I received a lot of awards and accolades, but I also got into my own fair share of trouble.”
Connect with Jen:
Would you like to be a guest or know someone who might want to share their story for the Women of the Military Podcast? You can sign up here and I will be in touch with you shortly.
Do you want to support Women of the Military?? Check out my new Patreon site and become a monthly supporter!!!