Jena Diller

Jena Diller 2014

Columbus Grove

Passionate about health, service and a national pageant program, Jena Diller has earned statewide and national recognition. Now the Bluffton senior wants to use her marketing major to promote these ongoing interests.

Last April, the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges recognized Diller for her volunteer work for diabetes awareness and other causes with its 2013 Service-Learning Leadership Award.

The sister of two siblings with Type 1 diabetes, the Columbus Grove, Ohio, native began promoting awareness of the disease by volunteering at health fairs with her mother, a certified diabetes educator. Jena has continued volunteering through high school and college, testing fairgoers’ blood sugar levels and providing health information.

In November 2012, she planned and coordinated a walk for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Within two weeks, participants in 10 states walked more than 5.5 million steps, or about 2,290 miles including 600-plus at Bluffton, where Diller organized a 10-hour walk in the Sommer Center for Health and Fitness Education. More than one-third of Bluffton students, faculty and staff participated.

In addition to her work for diabetes research, Diller developed “The Color of Christmas,” a December 2011 project aimed at providing art and coloring items to children’s hospitals and pediatric clinics at Christmas. With the help of Columbus Grove High School and its student council members, she was able to distribute more than 700 items to hospitalized children.

She has also volunteered for the American Diabetes Association and for Big Brothers Big Sisters, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. And she continued to advocate for her favorite cause, diabetes awareness, while serving as Miss Ohio Teen 2011 and National American Miss Teen 2011-12.

Those two titles were the last of four that Diller won in the National American Miss system, which conducts natural (no makeup) pageants for girls ages 4-18. She worked for the organization in summer 2012 as the national titleholder and again in 2013 as a staff member.

“I did it because it was good marketing experience, and I believe in it,” says Diller, who competed in the National American Miss program beginning at age 9, and worked at pageants in five states last summer.

She is currently considering a career in health care marketing. “I always wanted to go into the medical field but found out I was better at talking” and thought the two could be combined.