College of Arts and Sciences
Graduate studies for Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership degree, Concordia University at Portland and Seattle University
M.A. (Communication), 2008, University of Illinois Springfield
B.S. (Journalism), 2003, Arkansas State University
Professor Kerns joined Olivet as a full-time faculty member in 2015. She teaches courses in communication, public relations, journalism and nonprofit organization management. Her research interests include high impact experiential and service learning pedagogy in higher education, social media, professional/faculty mentoring of undergraduate students, generational differences in communication styles, crisis communication, non-profit leadership, and the Chamber of Commerce industry.
From 2010 to 2015, she served as assistant professor of public relations and director of the Nonprofit Organization Management Program at Central Washington University. During that time, she was the founder and advisor of Central Communication Agency, a full-service, student-run strategic communication agency.
Her previous professional experience includes: adjunct Instructor of communication at Benedictine University in Springfield, Illinois; director of Local Chamber Relations and Events for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce; and president of the Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
In 2008, she earned the U.S. Department of Defense Certification as a National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Ombudsman. In 2007, she earned the Certificate in Nonprofit Organization Management from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management.
Professor Kerns is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, and Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA). With PRSA, she served on the National PRSA Educator's Academy from 2010 to 2015, and she was president of the Central Illinois PRSA Chapter from 2008 to 2010. She is a sought after presenter for many local, national and international conferences and events.
She and her husband, Matt, are the parents of three sons. Her hobbies and outside interests tend to revolve around her sons’ current interests. She proudly identifies herself as "Swim Mom" and "Baseball Mom.” Personally, she enjoys yoga and hiking.
“I am very passionate about the fields I teach, and I share every ounce of my enthusiasm with my students in the classroom and through service learning projects,” Professor Kerns says. “I love learning, and I love mentoring! My goal is to leave the community a better place than it was when we arrived.”