Journalist, Author —
IT WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL IN ROLLA that Jerena Giffen began her journalism career as assistant editor of the school paper. When she enrolled at Drury College in Springfield, she was given the editorship of the student newspaper. While at Drury, Giffen also wrote news for two radio stations and worked as a part-time reporter for the United Press in Springfield. For her senior year, Giffen transferred to the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism, where she also worked for the United Press.
After graduating, Giffen was hired in 1947 by United Press and was sent to Dallas. In 1948, she was transferred back to Jefferson City to cover the state legislative session. Two years later, Giffen became the first female bureau chief for a wire service in Jefferson City. She held the position until 1957 when she left to raise her family.
In 1980, Giffen received her master’s degree in public administration and in 1989, received her doctorate degree in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia. For the next several years, she taught at the University of Missouri in Columbia and Rolla. In 1993, she took a position as adjunct assistant professor at Lincoln University in Jefferson City.
Giffen also has published several books including “The House on Hobo Hill,” “Plus Two for Jay Hill” and “First Ladies of Missouri: Their Homes and Their Families.” Most recently, she finished a book her husband began before he passed away called “Walks on Water: The Impact of Steamboats on the Lower Missouri River.”
Giffen has won numerous awards and honors including Author of the Year by the Missouri Writer’s Guild. Her record of community involvement and public service is a long and distinguished one.