Originally from Grand Falls-Windsor, Jennifer Smith, PEng, has her PhD and Master’s in Ocean &
Naval Architectural Engineering from Memorial University. She is also an alumnus of Dalhousie
University (2008) and Acadia University (2005).
From 2008-2020, Jennifer worked in human factors and marine simulation research within the
Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial University. More recently, in January 2021
she joined the School of Maritime Studies at the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial
University as an Instructor (Research) where she teaches and supervises graduate students in the
Maritime Studies (Safety: The Human Element) program.
In 2018, Jennifer suffered a cerebellar stroke due to neck trauma from undiagnosed whiplash from
an accident. The quick thinking of her husband in getting her to the hospital and the diligent efforts
of the doctors and nurses helped minimize the damage to her brain. Jennifer’s brain injury (an
ischaemic stroke) affected her vision, hearing, balance, ability to walk, and weakened her left side
(arm and hand). During the demanding 4-months of physical rehabilitation, her husband was her
primary caregiver, where she re-learned how to walk, strengthen her left side, improved her
weakened left eye, got her driver’s license re-instate and eventually eased back to work (however in
hindsight, this was probably too soon as it took her longer to recognize her cognitive limitations and
mental health issues). Four years later, many of the effects of her stroke are invisible (e.g., chronic
fatigue, migraines, tinnitus, photosensitivity, and anxiety). Despite these lingering issues, Jennifer
was able to return to her work as a researcher in 2019 and finish her PhD in 2020. While it has taken
time for her and her husband to come to terms with the fact that their everyday life is different than
before, they are grateful for the support they received and are fortunate for the silver linings they’ve
found throughout their journey.
Jennifer joined the NL Brain Injury Association on Oct 4, 2022, to help the organization with their
mission to bring awareness to brain injuries, support individuals with brain injuries, and advocate
for improved mental health services and supports for caregivers and families.