jess bengston

CROOKSTON, Minn. - The University of Minnesota Crookston announced the hiring of Jess Bengtson as communications specialist. Bengtson will be a member of the University and Alumni Relations team under Director of University and Alumni Relations Brandy Chaffee. Bengtson joins UMN Crookston from the Crookston Times where she served as the managing editor for the newspaper.

"I'm so excited to be able to work at and for my alma mater, and with the team that comes along with it!,” Bengtson stated. “It's no secret I'm deeply involved in the community and this position will allow that to continue as well as open new doors for partnerships. When I heard about the position opening I was proud to know that my previous education at UMN Crookston and my years of experience made me a qualified candidate. On to the future! Go Golden Eagles and Go Maroon and Gold!"

In her new role as communications specialist, Bengtson will serve as the primary writer for UMN Crookston. She will produce internal and external communication for the university, and will also serve as the main media relations contact. In addition, she will help lead public relations efforts for UMN Crookston along with Chaffee, and will work with the University of Minnesota on Systemwide messaging. She will also work as a main editor and writer for alumni publications, including the Torch and Torchlight, and will assist with overall marketing efforts of UMN Crookston, branding, design, and photography

Bengtson started at the Crookston Times in 2013, and held a variety of roles, most recently serving as managing editor. In her most recent position Bengtson oversaw biweekly print publications, wrote feature articles, edited and published items on the company website and social media platforms daily, provided coverage of community events, did graphic design for published and online ads, as well as many other duties. Bengtson has been very involved in Crookston volunteering for countless local and regional organizations. She was named the 2020 University of Minnesota Crookston Outstanding Community Service Award - Community Partner for her work with UMN Crookston. 

Bengtson received her Bachelor of Science degree in communication from the University of Minnesota Crookston.

Bengtson replaces Shawn Smith, who served as interim assistant director of communication within University and Alumni Relations. Smith goes back to serving full-time as assistant athletic director for media relations. He just finished his 10th year with UMN Crookston. He held the assistant director of communication role starting in October 2020. Bengtson officially commences her new position Monday, June 13.