Jennifer Laferriere ’14
Originally from St. Johnsbury, Jennifer was a three-sport athlete during her time at SJA, competing in soccer, basketball, and softball. After graduating in 2014, Jenni joined the Vermont Army National Guard and did a year of military training. She said, “I was able to travel the country, learn a trade, meet people from different backgrounds, and really be pushed physically and mentally. The Army has given me opportunities to grow as a person and as a leader. It taught me how to set and meet a standard higher than average, and to not let it lower despite any circumstances. I don’t believe I would be the person I am today if it weren’t for my time in the military.” Jenni then attended the University of New England and earned a Bachelor of Science in exercise science. During her time at UNE, she found passion in a new sport, playing on the rugby team, and found a tight knit community of supportive women.
Jenni now works as a strength and conditioning coach. She recalls two faculty members from SJA who had major impacts on her desire to lead and educate through sports and fitness. The first being Athletic Trainer, Chris Despins ‘88. She said, “I took his athletic training classes and learned a lot about the body, injuries, and the rehabilitation processes from him. I remember hanging out in his office after school before practice, watching him work with students. I also felt like I could always talk to him about anything.” The second faculty member who deeply impacted Jenni is former Assistant Headmaster for Campus Life and basketball coach, Beth Choiniere. Jenni said, “she was always very hard on me and always pushed me to be better. I couldn’t get away with anything because she held me to such a high standard. She believed in me, and that helped me believe in me. I want to be that for young athletes.”
During her junior year of college, she began an Instagram page called @the_gainzter which now has nearly 1,000 followers. She said, “I post my struggles, my successes, projects I’m working on, and educational content. Because of it, I’ve made friends from all over the world and have experienced opportunities I never could’ve imagined before. I use it for marketing, yes, but more than anything, it’s a place for me to connect with people and educate.” Jenni lives in Maine with her wife, Zoe, and dog, Bruno. The couple met at UNE their freshman year, played rugby together, started dating their sophomore year, and married in October 2021. Zoe is an athletic trainer at the local high school. Jenni said, “We love fitness, going on adventures, and baking (a lot of baking). She inspires me to be a better human every day.”