Wesleyan was honored to host Jessica Kendrick Thomas '08 as keynote speaker at Fall Convocation Thursday, August 22. Incorporating Wesleyan’s new campus motto “One Wesleyan. Many Voices. Find Yours.,” Jessica encouraged students to “Embrace the differences in your voices. In an age where differing voices are dismissed, criticized, antagonized, and even shunned, I implore you to take a different path. Listen to differing voices in the classroom, dining hall, STUNT writings and rehearsals, halls of student government, athletic playing fields, and even in your dorms… Use your voices to enhance Wesleyan and the world around you. It is not enough to have a voice that sits in silence. In short, Wesleyan speak up!! Speak out!! Speak boldly and confidently knowing that you have a pantheon of powerhouse voices standing with you… Use your voice, without fear, or shame, and join the Wesleyan voices that together are striving to make this college, this city, this state, and this nation better. Our voices are speaking and we need you. We crave YOUR ideas, we want to LEARN about YOUR experiences, and want to help realize YOUR visions for the future. That is what makes us one.”
In addition to delivering a captivating speech, Jessica spent three days in the Career Development Center networking with students, reviewing their resumes, and discussing topics including navigating career decisions, post-grad life, non-linear career paths, leveraging a liberal arts education, maximizing a Wesleyan degree, and opportunities in management consulting.
Advertising and Marketing Communication major Rachel Solomon ’20 said, “Having an alumna such as Jessica on campus was a great experience. I learned about how to improve my resume and how to effectively market myself in a professional manner. She told about her ups and downs and how they shaped her into becoming the successful woman she is today. Because of this, I don't feel as much pressure to be perfect when beginning my career. Jessica is definitely an alumna I respect. She makes me proud to be a Wesleyan woman.”
Jessica is president of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Wesleyan Alumnae Association where she gives back to her alma mater by fostering an open network among alumnae and seeking to connect and mentor current and future Wesleyan students entering the workforce.
Originally from Augusta, Georgia, Jessica earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Wesleyan and her master’s degree in business administration at North Carolina Central University. Today she is an associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, a management and information technology consulting firm in Washington, D.C., where she works as a contractor to improve military pay functions for the United States Navy.
"We were excited to have Jessica share her professional expertise with the students at these events, and the students loved engaging with her. Wesleyan alumnae are wonderful resources for providing industry insights and professional connections to students," said Stephanie Baugh, director for the Center for Career Development.