Staff Spotlight: Jennifer Hockemeyer

UW Health Fitness Center Instructor Jennifer HockemeyerAs hard as you may try, there just isn’t a whole lot to say about Harlan, IN. Wikipedia says that “Harlan is a census-designated place (CDP) in Springfield Township, Allen County, Indiana, United States”. With a population hovering below 1,700, this unincorporated town in NE Indiana (just 7 miles from the Ohio state line) doesn’t draw much attention.


But wait. Harlan deserves at least a hint of recognition because - besides its freshly made donuts - it happens to be the hometown of Jennifer Hockemeyer, one of two new Fitness Center staff joining our team this spring.


Jennifer joins us after earning Bachelors (Biology) and Master’s degrees (Exercise Physiology) from Purdue University. On our Fitness Center staff, Jennifer has a couple of afternoon floor shifts and performs intake evaluations on new members.


Jennifer grew up in Harlan as the 3rd of 4 sisters. A self-described “studious child,” Jennifer excelled in academics and was valedictorian of her high school graduating class. She recalls quoting Forrest Gump in her commencement address (you’ll need to ask her what Gump pearl of wisdom she selected). In addition to her academic achievements, Jennifer played basketball and also played trombone in the band during high school.


A highlight of Jennifer’s undergraduate college days was a semester in Australia doing wildlife field biology (she claims that kangaroo meat tastes pretty “gamey”). In graduate school, her thesis project was studying Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) in women.


Jennifer and her husband, Kurt (a Research Specialist at UW studying pesticide use on field turf) live in Madison with their dog, Abbey, a boxer mix.


For fun, Jennifer enjoys solving brain-teaser puzzles and playing Nancy Drew mystery computer games. She also likes wildlife photography. In addition, she freely identifies herself as a “Harry Potter” junkie.


We are fortunate to have Jennifer as part of our Fitness Center team and are looking forward to all of the ways she will contribute here. Let’s hear a little bit directly from Jennifer:


A Q&A with Alicia


Why did you choose this profession?

I have always been interested in physiology, but I wanted to see the whole picture not just what happens under a microscope. For that reason, I decided to study Exercise Physiology. I still had to do work at the microscopic level, but I was able to experience the whole picture from the person down to the proteins.


What do you like about working here?

I love meeting and getting to know the members and the staff. As a newcomer to the city, it is great hearing all the stories and advice about the city of Madison.


Hometown: Harlan, IN


Current residence: Madison


Birthday: June 15


Family: My husband’s name is Kurt. I have three sisters (2 older, 1 younger) and my parents back home in Indiana.


Pets: One dog named Abbey, who is a 10-year-old Boxer mix.


Favorite music: ZZ Ward, Sara Bareilles, Ed Sheeran


Favorite color: Orange


Favorite TV show: Fixer Upper and Criminal Minds


Favorite movies: Sum of All Fears and The Lion King


Favorite foods: Mac and Cheese with pulled pork


Hobbies: Reading, gardening, photography, hiking, and kayaking when I get the chance


Favorite vacation spots (thus far): Turkey Run State Park in Indiana 


Favorite Athlete: Pat McAfee (Colts punter). Not only can he tackle but he is a pretty good comedian.


Previous nicknames: G.I. Jenn, Nnej


People I admire: My parents


Brush with greatness: Marching Band State Champion (It's a big deal in Indiana).