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Jennifer Henszey

About Jennifer Henszey

Jennifer Henszey hails from Maryland’s Eastern Shore in Cambridge. She was the first person in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree and graduated in 2008 with honors from Virginia Tech where she majored in English, concentrating in Professional Writing, and minored in Leadership. While at Virginia Tech, Jennifer received extensive leadership training through her work in the Virginia Tech Naval R.O.T.C. and the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. Additionally, she played the Glockenspiel in Virginia Tech’s award-winning military marching band, the Highty-Tighties, and sang in one of the University’s jazz bands, the Southern Colonels.

Upon graduation, Jennifer commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy, where she served with distinction, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Commander during her nine years as a Surface Warfare Officer. During her tours of duty, she was stationed in San Diego, California on what was the Navy’s newest amphibious warship, the USS GREEN BAY. As a “plank owner,” she was the ship’s first Deck division officer, Main Propulsion officer, and Command U.S. Citizenship coordinator. Jennifer served as the Surface Coordinator in Ulchi-Freedom Guardian in South Korea, one of the largest military command post exercises in the word. While stationed in Norfolk, Virginia she served as the Fire Control Officer and Ballistic Missile Defense Officer aboard a Destroyer warship, the USS MAHAN. She deployed to support maritime security and antipiracy operations off the Horn of Africa and in the Mediterranean Sea. Her deployment also included NATO’s Operation Unified Protector during the Libyan Civil War to protect civilians and reduce the flow of arms to Libya during a 72-hour counterterrorism surge. Jennifer also completed a tour of duty at the United States Fleet Forces Command as an Action Officer in the Navy’s Antiterrorism office. During that time, she also served as the Navy’s Defense Critical Infrastructure Protection Officer and implemented the Navy’s first Critical Asset Identification Process. During her Reserves tour, Jennifer served as an inspector for the Secretary of the Navy’s and Chief of Naval Operation’s Board of Inspection and Survey, traveling worldwide to evaluate Navy ship’s readiness to conduct combat operations at sea. Jennifer is a decorated veteran, twice awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and a Navy Commendation Medal.

Asked why she left the Navy, Jennifer comments, “I understand service, and the need to be part of a bigger picture. But I arrived at a moment in my career when I wanted to personally know the person I was helping. And I wanted, in particular, to help kids.”

Following her heart, Jennifer stepped away from her distinguished naval career and enrolled at the University of Tennessee College of Law, where she graduated in 2018. During her time at UT, she remained active in the Navy Reserves, while simultaneously clerking for Held Law Firm. She was a member of the Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity, Women in Law, and she practiced as a student attorney for the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic.

Now graduated, Jennifer focuses her efforts on assisting families in the Juvenile Court system. “Juvenile Court is where decisions are made that most directly and uniquely impact the lives of children,” Jennifer comments. “Whether a child is being abused or neglected, or whether one of the parents is absent or unfit, that case will land in Juvenile.”

Jennifer will focus her practice on cases where children are abused, neglected, or subject to prosecution for crimes. Asked what the best part of her job so far is, Jennifer comments: “Without a doubt, it’s doing adoptions. There’s something about representing a family who is deliberately choosing to raise a child, often removing that child from a dangerous situation, and taking on that responsibility. I served alongside many heroes during my time in the Navy, and I’m proud to continue serving the heroes who choose to adopt.”

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