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Advancement in the Arts for MHS Alumnus Amy Petersen Jensen

Article Date: 
30 September, 2011 (All day)


Amy Petersen Jensen graduated from Morgan High School in 1986 along with 107 other students of that class.  Throughout her four years of attending MHS, Jensen had many successes and was acknowledged on several occasions for her academic achievements.

Jensen was one of the 11 charter students to receive Morgan High’s Block ‘M’ pin.  The award program was initiated during the 1985-86 school year to recognize those students who actively participated in the school’s academic, athletic, and student government programs.  The student’s high level of involvement, enthusiasm, and leadership abilities were acknowledged and rewarded with points for participating in the various groups, clubs, and teams of the school.  They also accrued points for each time they were placed on the honor roll for earning a high grade point average.  Some of the accomplishments that have high point values were being elected as a class officer and being selected as one of the year’s Sterling Scholars. 

In 1986, Amy  Petersen was chosen to be the school’s Sterling Scholar for Speech and Drama.  With the points for that accomplishment added to her many other points, she met the 150 point requirement needed to apply for the award.  She, along with the 10 other recipients of this honor, was presented with a Block M pin at an awards banquet.  

For this special evening, Morgan citizen, Jan Turner was invited by Morgan High School Principal, Glenn Olson to be the event’s guest speaker.  As Olson introduced Turner, he commented that he had selected Turner because of his great example as one who had used his high level involvement in school activities and programs to achieve later successes in the “real” world.

As Turner spoke to the group of elite students, he asserted that he strongly believes that by his getting involved and being an active participant in high school activities and programs that the experience had, indeed, been a contributing factors to his later successes.  He then encouraged the students in attendance that night to continue in their quest for excellence, to continue to get involved, take on leadership roles, and set an example of good in whatever community in which they would become a member.  

Amy Petersen Jensen is a perfect example of one who heeded this advice and has parlayed her educational achievements and high level of involvement during her high school years to achieve a high level of success and significant community contributions in her adult life.  Since ‘86, Jensen has continued to learn and grow and pass along her learning as an educator in her chosen field. 

  During her high school years, her initial interest in the arts and high level of involvement and hard work led Jensen to receive the Sterling Scholar Award in Drama and Speech for 1986.  Jensen was accepted at BYU and was able to use the scholarship funds she had been awarded for her accomplishments. While attending Brigham Young University as a student she found more success from her involvement and hard work and  received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1989 and her Masters of Arts in Theatre and Film in 1998.

Not one to simply rest on her laurels, after those huge accomplishments were safely tucked under belt, she didn’t stop there.  She went on to earn her PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with an emphasis in Theatre and Film Education.

Jensen is now a full-time faculty member in the Film Department at BYU and has added numerous accomplishments, honors, and achievements to her resume.  She has directed the Theatre and Media Arts Department’s “Hands on a Camera” service learning project, where BYU theatre and media education students work with in-service public school educators to train young people in media literacy and production skills.  In 2009 she received the Brigham Young University Young Scholar Award. She has published a number of books and is first vice-president of the National Association for Media Literacy Education, co-editor of the Journal of Media Literacy Education, and serves on the editorial board for the Youth Theatre Journal.

She was recently appointed as chair of the Department of Theatre and Media Arts. The department has more than twenty full time and more than fifty part time instructors.  Jensen is an associate professor in that department and she also coordinates the undergraduate Theatre and Media Education Program and the Media Education Masters Degree Program.