Jessica Johnson

Student Info

Graduation Year:
May 2011
Hometown:
Algonquin, Illinois

What have you done since graduating and where are you now?
From August 2011 to July 2012, I served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA at the Michigan Campus Compact office in Lansing, Michigan. There I worked to develop a college student leadership conference and a training curriculum geared toward preparing college students to support K-12 youth efforts to attain postsecondary education. This college access program created by Michigan Campus Compact is called College Positive Volunteerism.

I have recently moved to Istanbul, Turkey to teach English to kindergarteners at a private school in the Avcılar district on the European side of the city. I begin teaching September 10, 2012.

How did RCAH prepare you for what you're doing now?
The RCAH prepared me for my AmeriCorps position, as well as my new teaching experience, by providing opportunities for me to build my skills in communication, comprehension and interpretation of concepts and situations. It was extremely valuable for many professors to focus on the complexities of community and culture because this knowledge helped me to immerse myself in Michigan communities in a different way than when I was attending school. I also gained confidence in my abilities and passions for processes as much as results, which will support my present and future positions.

What were your academic interests in RCAH?
My academic interests included Art, Art History, and my civic engagement courses with Guillermo Delgado. Also, I really enjoyed reading and discussing literature, culture, poetry and youth development.

What were your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
The professors and student colleagues in the RCAH have two characteristics: dedication and ambition. I was inspired by everyone in the RCAH community and the conversations and ideas that I absorbed will continue to encourage me to pursue my interests!

RCAH professors also encouraged students to get involved. I became part of the REACH Studio Art Center community, a fabulous nonprofit in Lansing which provides opportunities for youth and adults to create art. My experiences here certainly complimented the education I gained in the RCAH.

What words of wisdom do you have for current RCAH students?
Push your boundaries to see what you enjoy! Always ask questions and observe the people who inspire you. The RCAH experience is what you make it.