Inside DELTA: 5 Questions with Jennafer Pettit

Jennafer Pettit in the CTI lobby. Photo by Katie Harris.

Jennafer Pettit in the CTI lobby. Photo by Katie Harris.

Jen’s family farm in New Jersey.

Growing up on a dairy farm in South New Jersey has made Jennafer Pettit into the hands-on, do-it-yourself person she is today.

Here at DELTA, Pettit is a multimedia web specialist who has been sharing her talents since March 2017. Previously, Pettit has worked in educational museum exhibit design, product design and development, as well as graphic design and marketing. She was looking to get back into the educational sector when she came to DELTA.

Pettit earned a degree from Rochester Institute of Technology in Industrial Design and had one requirement for where she would live following graduation — someplace warm either south of New Jersey or on the West Coast. She ultimately landed in Raleigh. 

How would you describe your position at DELTA?

“I do a little bit of both course development and marketing,” Pettit said. On the course development side, Pettit is involved in helping instructors create media pieces for their courses to get them online in an interesting way. “I use my skills in media design to enhance their courses and make it easier for them to teach their material in an online setting without losing the interactivity that you get in a live classroom,” Pettit added.

The other side of Pettit’s job is marketing where she does both internal marketing for DELTA and also external marketing for Online and Distance Education programs. “We make sure that people know about all of our online programs, getting the word out for new programs that are launching. We help both determine and implement marketing strategy,” she added.

What is special about your job and what do you enjoy most?

“My favorite part about the work I do is the fact that every project is a different, interesting challenge,” said Pettit. “The way DELTA is set up, there’s typically room to try new things and experiment within the framework of what we’re trying to achieve.”

She added, “That has been my favorite part, I am not only using my skills to help people achieve their goals, but I’m also growing and learning because both the faculty and DELTA are  very open to trying new technology and new approaches.”

In just a year, Pettit has grown to love the people at DELTA. “Everybody at DELTA has something unique to offer that I can learn from, and so just by being around and working on projects with different colleagues, I’m able to watch how they approach things differently than I might have and kind of pick that up and learn from it,” she said. Pettit’s first year has been incredibly enriching because of the knowledge she’s learned from colleagues and the knowledge she’s been able to share as well.

“People at DELTA are excited to talk about and share things they know. Oftentimes if I’m curious, they’ll take the time to walk me through it a little bit more so I can understand better. I’m so grateful for that,” she added.

What’s your area of expertise?

“I have been told I ask really good questions,” Pettit laughed. “It’s not even just asking questions, it’s asking the right questions.”

Pettit explained that in the beginning of a project and even throughout, she wants to know the end goal and what the project is really trying to achieve. “Once you know what the overall goal is, you can look at the bigger picture and brainstorm additional ways of achieving it. But if you get too focused on things you think you should be doing first, then you might miss finding an innovative solution or even miss the big picture itself.”

“Oftentimes, I think my colleagues leave meetings with more questions than they came in with because I ask those questions, but I think it’s important because if you don’t know what you’re trying to do, you don’t have a good way to measure success,” Pettit added.

What do you like to do outside of work and in your spare time?

Pettit laughed and said, “Everything… too many things… I don’t have enough time for all the things I try to do in my spare time.”

Pettit’s favorite activity currently is encaustic wax painting among the many types of art she does. She also has been creating pottery at the NC State Crafts Center with the eventual goal of making herself a plate set.

Jen and her dog, Gadget.
Jen and her dog Gadget.

From her background on a farm and in industrial design, everything Pettit sees she thinks she can make or do herself. “Right now, I’m in the middle of reupholstering a vintage couch,” she added. “Since switching to a more computer-based role, my hands need an outlet. I need to do something three dimensional that I can touch and feel, so hands-on projects such as reupholstering the couch help provide balance.”

“Aside from the artistic stuff, I also love to run and exercise outside. I go to Cyclebar a couple times a week. I really like yoga and hanging out with my dogs,” said Pettit.

Jen's dog Phoenix.
Jen’s dog Phoenix.

Tell us about your interest in the 100 Day Project!

“I was originally interested in it because I was looking for ways to respark and reconnect with my creative side again,” she said. “I felt like I had lost the ability to make things just for fun or the sake of making.” So when Pettit came across the 100 Day Project, she thought it would be a perfect way to spark her creativity. The first year, Pettit did 100 days of tiny illustrations which were small watercolor paintings. She only made it to day 28, but it helped her get back into making things without any pressure or too many constraints.

This year, Pettit is trying to rally DELToids to participate in the project again. “When I’m trying to motivate myself to do more creative things, I have a habit of looping everybody in with me because then I feel guilty if I don’t do it,” she joked.

Pettit is excited to experiment with a new project for the next 100 days (starting April 3) and do it with a fun group of people. However, this year’s project has to be portable because Pettit is traveling to Greece shortly after the project begins.