Jennifer O'Donnell

Lecturer in Women's and Gender Studies

Jenny O’Donnell is a Lecturer in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. An alumna of Wellesley College, she is thrilled to contribute to the academic community that shaped her career and scholarship. Following her Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College, Jenny received a Master of Science from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In 2017, she completed a Doctorate of Science, also at the Chan School, in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. A Maternal and Child Health/Children, Youth and Families Center of Excellence trainee, her dissertation research focused on qualitatively and quantitatively exploring the intersection of place and individual attributes on access to reproductive health services in rural communities in Central Appalachia. Her research has been published in Social Science and Medicine, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Reproductive Health Matters, Women’s Health Issues, and the Journal of Maternal and Child Health.

In addition to teaching at the College, Jenny serves as the Director of Grantmaking and Evaluation at the Society of Family Planning. In that role, she oversees the Society of Family Planning Research Fund, monitoring ongoing research totaling over $25 million in research awards. In her grantmaking work, Jenny develops novel funding opportunities soliciting research primed for impact on abortion and contraception as well as career development for underrepresented scholars. In her evaluation capacity, she leads organizational learning across grantmaking and other Society programming, guiding the generation of key questions, overseeing the development of feedback loops, and facilitating ongoing reflection. Prior to her work at the Society, Jenny spent over ten years as the Deputy Director at Provide, a national nonprofit focused on training health and social service providers to meet the needs of patients with unintended pregnancies, including abortion care. She has also served as a Fellow in the 2012-2013 National Council for Research on Women-Amex Fellowship, a program dedicated to developing women leaders in the nonprofit sector.


  • B.A., Wellesley College
  • M.S., Harvard School of Public Health
  • Ph.D., Harvard Scool of Public Health