Jessica, a Bismarck, ND native, is currently pursuing her Masters of Public Administration at the University of North Dakota's College of Business and Public Administration. Upon her arrival at UND she has been heavily involved in the community, starting with her experience in the organization, Students Today, Leaders Forever (STLF).
Jessica graduated from St. Mary's High School in 2003 and then came to UND to pursue an undergraduate degree in Psychology. While in her undergraduate program, Jessica became involved as a peer educator for the Counseling Center at UND. In her position as a peer educator, she contributed by speaking to classes and students about the services offered at Counseling Center. She also continued to work with the organization STLF for the majority of her undergraduate career.
Within STLF, Jessica became a Camp Counselor for the High School Leadership Camp, a Bus Leader for the "Pay It Forward" Tour, and in her final year an Advisor to Bus Leaders for the "Pay It Forward" Tour. STLF is an on-campus student organization that is organized in high schools and colleges. This organization operates as a service organization providing assistance to many different community organizations and charities across the nation. STLF is usually recognized for its "Pay it Forward" Tour which typically occurs over Spring Break. The students travel across the country on a bus, spending every day in a different city in the United States. Activities can range anywhere from painting the rooms inside a homeless shelter to cleaning up at the local meal center.
Since then, Jessica has worked at the Ruth Myers Adolescent Center, a psychiatric residential treatment facility. In her position of Direct Core Staff she provides supervision and guidance for everyday activities. It was in this position that Jessica originally started to think about pursuing a graduate degree in counseling. After 3 years at Ruth Myers she really began to understand the systems involved with policy and structure that effect non-profit organizations. Jessica found these systems very interesting and recognized the need for efficiency within them. It was then that she decided to pursue an MPA degree with the hope of making an effective change for these organizations.
In the future, Jessica hopes to become the director of a facility like the Ruth Myers Adolescent Center. She strives to pursue her interests in administrative development, youth advocacy, and juvenile justice and to make a difference in the community.
"The classes overall have provided me with an understanding of private, public, and non-profit sectors and how they interact. My hope is to take what I have learned and make an impact," says Jessica regarding her experience in the MPA program.