“I am truly grateful for everything Watkinson provided me.”
Jennifer Gibson ’00
Jennifer Gibson ’00 has always been drawn to dance. Former Watkinson dance teacher Judi Tolomea was a friend and mentor who not only encouraged Jen to follow her passion, but also allowed her to create an independent study at Watkinson. Doing so, Jen says, encouraged her to “think outside the box.” That passion brought her to the New World School of Arts at the University of Florida where she earned a BFA in dance performance. After graduation, Jen danced professionally in Hartford, Miami, and New York.
Yoga has always been a big part of Jen’s life too, and in 2005 she started training to be a yoga instructor. Her knowledge of body movement helped propel her through 10 levels of yoga certification, including pre- and post-natal, yin, beginner, intermediate, advanced, and more. Yoga was a kinder, gentler community in comparison to the dance world, which can be harsh, she says. She was drawn to the work of helping people manage their stress and emotional health. Jen has taught group classes in New York, Florida, New Mexico, Jamaica, and now Connecticut. She even led a yoga retreat in Marrakech, Morocco. Jen recently moved from New York City to Connecticut not only to be closer to her family, but also slow down the pace of her life. She currently teaches several virtual classes and specializes in chair yoga for seniors.
Attending Watkinson from 9th-12th grade, Jen reflects, “Watkinson prepared me so well for college in many ways, but one significant factor was being able to take a psychology and an ethics class at the University of Hartford while still in high school. I wasn’t shocked during college by the workload or the intensity of classes like some of my friends were because I was so well prepared. My teachers helped me become comfortable with myself and encouraged my participation, which has helped me to this day with my teaching. I am truly grateful for everything Watkinson provided me.”