A native of Brooklin, Ontario, Jennifer Johnson developed an abiding passion for her sport at a very young age and began her career playing box lacrosse in the Whitby Minor Lacrosse Association. She subsequently made the transition to field lacrosse at the high school level, where she led Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute to three consecutive regional titles.
Jen’s field lacrosse career continued while she earned her degree in kinesiology from Penn State University. During her four seasons at Penn State, Johnson led the Nittany Lions in scoring with 73 points in her junior year (1998) and 70 points in her senior year (1999); in these same seasons, Jen recorded team highs of 49 and 47 goals respectively. She finished her career at Penn State ranked among the school’s all-time top 10 players in goals scored (136), assists (64), and total points (200).
As a senior, Jen received first-team All-America honours after leading the Nittany Lions to a record of 15-5 and a trip to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament, where the team advanced to the semi-final round. She also earned third-team honours as a sophomore (1997) and second-team honours the following year, and was also recognized as a first-team regional All-America selection in three consecutive years. Johnson did not miss a game in her four years at Penn State, and she concluded her stellar collegiate career with an invitation to participate in the prestigious North/South All-Star game in May 1999.
Johnson also enjoyed considerable success on the international stage, representing Canada in several competitions from 1995 to 2005. Jen was a co-captain of the Canadian Under-19 National Team that finished fourth in the 1995 World Cup, and was a key contributor on the Canadian Women’s Lacrosse National Teams that finished fourth in both the 2001 and 2005 World Cups; Jen was third in tournament scoring in 2001 and was the only Canadian named to the 12-player All-World Team after the 2005 competition.
Upon her retirement as a player, Jen moved to the coaching ranks, working as an assistant at Penn State and Cornell before accepting the position of head coach at the University of Vermont. During her 12 seasons leading the Catamounts, Jen became the winningest coach in school history with 89 wins, and was named America East Coach of the Year in 2008.