January 14, 2022 at 10:00am
Sydney Gyuran '19

Made it Millikin: Jensen Cearlock

Jensen Cearlock, a junior health promotion major originally from Decatur, Ill., did not start her academic journey at Millikin University. Beginning college at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., as a communication major, she didn't quite feel at home. When COVID-19 changed the world and Cearlock returned to Decatur, she realized that her next stop on her academic journey was right in front of her at Millikin.

"It felt like home as soon as I stepped onto the campus when I came back for COVID," Cearlock said.

Some students may be hesitant to go to attend college with family so close to home, but Cearlock found it beneficial.

Cearlock noted, "Being so close to home throughout college has really helped me grow as an individual and has made me become even closer with my family than I was before."


While Cearlock considered Millikin in her college search during her senior year of high school, she was under the impression she needed to leave her hometown to experience college. Now a member of the Greek organization, Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women and a participant in several intramural sports, Cearlock has experienced college how she expected all while having her family close.

"Decatur does not feel like a small town compared to Chicago or St. Louis, and when I step onto Millikin's campus I don't feel like it's a small school," Cearlock said. "You have all these different amazing people that come from all of these areas and they bring so much different culture to our school that make it feel like we're in St. Louis or Chicago at a bigger university."  

One of the reasons transferring to Millikin made sense for Cearlock was the health promotion major and the faculty and staff members of Millikin's School of Exercise Science and Sport.

Jensen Cearlock

Jensen Cearlock

Cearlock said, "Our Exercise Science and Sport department has the best professors on campus who have helped me grow as a student and helped me make connections in Decatur that I wouldn't have had before."

When it comes to her Millikin experience, Cearlock can only describe it in one word … "home."

"Even though I'm from Decatur, I wouldn't change it for the world. I've made such a big friend group and family group."

The Millikin experience has not been what Cearlock thought it would be … it has exceeded her expectations. From beginning school in another state to transferring home, Cearlock has found her place through her major, and through her involvement in student organizations and social circles.  

"What I hope to get out of Millikin is the lifelong commitment of friendships not only through Millikin but through my sorority," Cearlock said. "Personally I hope to keep growing and reaching for the goals that I have through my life and making those personal connections."