Jennifer K. Wagner has been practicing law in State College, Pennsylvania since 2007. Her practice has involved transactional, litigation, and consulting services in areas such as residential and commercial landlord-tenant law; real estate law; home improvement and construction matters; condominium and homeowner associations; discrimination; privacy; contracts; and more. Jennifer's professional memberships include the Centre County Bar Association, Pennsylvania Bar Association, and American Bar Association.
Jennifer has been conducting academic research since 1999. Her scholarly focus is on the intersections of anthropology, genetics, and law, with particular attention to human diversity, biocultural constructions of race, and disparities in health and justice contexts. She earned a prestigious K99/R00 NIH "Pathway to Independence Award" from the National Human Genome Research Institute for her "Multidisciplinary Study of Race, Appearance, Ancestry, Discrimination & Prejudice" (1K99HG006446). Her research has addressed a wide array of emerging issues, such as DNA fingerprinting, molecular photofitting, genetic discrimination, genetic privacy, DNA ancestry testing, direct-to-consumer personal genomics, and the integration of genetic technologies in sports. She is an academic editor for PeerJ, a contributing editor for the Genomics Law Report, and co-chair of the ethics committee for the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Jennifer's professional memberships include the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Human Genetics, the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, and the American Association of Anthropological Genetics.
Education and Experience
Jennifer K. Wagner was valedictorian of her high school class (West Snyder High School, 1998). She pursued her undergraduate studies at Penn State University, during which time she was a Schreyer Honors Scholar; participated on an archaeological field school; conducted osteological research abroad in Odense, Denmark; and first-authored two scientific publications in the anthropometrics and anthropological genetics lab of Dr. Mark Shriver. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology with High Honors and High Distinction in 2002 and was the Student Marshal for the Department of Anthropology. She continued studying human genetics at the University of Michigan in its Program in Biomedical Sciences with Dr. Jeff Long and Dr. Margit Burmeister. Motivated by the Supreme Court cases regarding affirmative action in university admission policies (Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger) and deteriorating post-September 11th racial and ethnic relations in the United States, Jennifer left her graduate studies in genetics to pursue legal studies at the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill, NC. During her legal training, Jennifer studied international human rights law (minority rights and indigenous peoples rights) at the Irish Centre for Human Rights in Galway, Republic of Ireland; earned a certificate of merit for achieving the highest grade in Privacy Law; was recognized for providing over 75 hours of pro bono legal work; and was the President of the UNC Law School Chapter of the American Constitution Society. Jennifer earned her Juris Doctorate in May 2007, was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar, and began her private law practice in October 2007. Jennifer concurrently pursued graduate studies at Penn State University with Dr. Ken Weiss and in 2010 earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Anthropology with her thesis entitled "Social and Legal Implications of DNA Ancestry Tests." Subsequently, she conducted post-doctoral research with Dr. Charmaine Royal at Duke University's Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy (Duke IGSP, 2010-2011) and with Dr. Reed Pyeritz at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Integration of Genetic Healthcare Technologies (Penn CIGHT, 2011-2014), all the while continuing her law practice in State College, PA. While she secured an appointment as an Assistant Professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Division of Bioethics, Jennifer decided to forgo that position upon receiving the exciting news that she was selected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to be a 2014-2015 AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow. Jennifer served as a 2014-2015 AAAS Congressional Fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (MA), where she managed the judiciary portfolio and assisted with privacy, health, consumer protection, and environmental policy. She joined Geisinger Health System in September 2015 as Associate Director of Bioethics Research.