Jessica’s first professional role working with youth was as a youth and family advocate at The Bridge for Youth. There she supported youth who were experiencing varying levels of crisis, helping them to define the best interventions to meet their needs and articulate those needs to parents/guardians and liaisons.
She later served as a college and career coach at Hired, where she supported students who were part of county systems (teen parent, foster-care, juvenile probation) to get connected with career and college training opportunities. She also coordinated summer internships for these students, providing opportunities to learn about career fields of interest in greater depth.
Jessica says her own experience of navigating college as a first-generation college student led to her work in career and college readiness. As a student at South High School, she spent time in the Achieve Career & College Center to get help with postsecondary planning, and then brought the new skills she learned home to her parents so they could provide the tools she needed to complete her applications. From that point on, she knew she wanted to help other students in similar situations to learn the process of applying for postsecondary education to ensure that they wouldn’t miss these opportunities because of barriers they experienced in their lives.
Jessica holds a bachelor's degree in social work from St. Cloud State University and a master’s in public health from Concordia University. In her free time she spends a lot of time with her nieces who are in high school, who keep her updated on the latest trends. She also enjoys reading, writing, baking and spending time with friends and family.