Posted April 01, 2013
With an interest in education Jess began volunteering at REAL School in Falmouth, ME. The REAL School is an "Adventure Based, Alternative and Special Education School serving students with and without disabilities, whose needs have not been met in traditional school programs and whose strengths have not yet been reflected in their school performance." Learning to work with students who constantly pushed her outside of her comfort zone was a tremendous experience. One that she carried with her in her student teaching at Brunswick High School last semester through the community-based course EDUC 303: Curriculum with Professors Nancy Jennings and Katie Byrnes.
As a sophomore Jess went on an Alternative Spring Break trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. As a result of that powerful experience, she decided to combine her passion for education and her desire to open others minds and applied to lead an ASB trip. Just last month Jess and Emma James '13 led a trip to Harlem Children'z Zone and PS 152 Evergreen in Harlem, NY.
For the 2012 summer Jess received a Preston Public Interest Career Fund grant through the Career Planning Center to work in a school called Future Leaders in Ghana. At Future Leaders, she created individualized learning plans for two older students who had a limited educational background, teaching basic ABCs and numbers and then transitioned from individual tutoring, to group phonics lessons, to teaching in a classroom. She also worked with their Educational Coordinator to help understand the policy and bigger picture questions about education in Ghana.
Jess has been regularly involved with the Outing Club throughout her Bowdoin career and has combined her passion for mentoring with her love for nature and serves this year as the Community Service Coordinator, focused primarily on creating a lasting mentoring program between Bowdoin and Brunswick High School's Outing Clubs. As a junior Jess led a Weekend Service Trip to the Carpenter's Boat Shop in Pemaquid, Maine. This trip was one of her most powerful experiences at Bowdoin and that experience inspired her to take a more logistical role in her senior year. This year Jess is the McKeen Fellow overseeing the planning and execution of Weekend Service Trips.
After graduating this spring, Jess spend the summer living on North Haven Island lobstering, osytering, waitressing, house-cleaning, landscaping, and doing other odd jobs. This fall she will be conducting educational research for a think tank in DC in the fall and then completing her placement with the Bowdoin Teaching Scholars in the spring of 2014 in Portland, ME.
“All of the volunteer work I've completed at Bowdoin has focused my interests. I want to continue exposing others to the educational problems our country and our world face and continue helping others receive stronger educations.”