Student Spotlight: Jessica Luis C’22

Jessica Luis C’22

What attracted you to Drew?

I  loved Drew’s proximity to New York City and that trains and buses were so easily accessible to campus. Coming from Miami, Florida, I was also looking forward to experiencing all four seasons rather than just the wet and dry seasons in Florida.

Did you know what you wanted to major in as a first-year student?

I knew I wanted to go into STEM. When I was in High School I thought about pursuing Aerospace Engineering but in the summer before my senior year I did an internship with Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization that helps and provides young women with the opportunity to be taught computer skills. That’s where I knew I wanted to do programming so I chose computer science as a major. I’m interested in software rather than the hardware because you can expand on a computer’s internal capabilities. I would rather work with expanding a computer program rather than be limited in my work.

What are your responsibilities as National Communications Coordinator for Residence Hall Association (RHA)?

My job for the Residence Hall Association is to communicate with RHAs from other schools and share ideas about programming on campus, advocacy projects and represent Drew’s RHA outside of campus. I come up with events and programs for the RHA while the President, Russell Levi, C’22, is in charge of the advocacy projects. I am also the event director for the University Programming Board (UPB), so I reach out to contractors and conduct negotiations for hiring companies to do sound and lighting/DJ booths. For UPB I also do a lot of decorating and designing things like table decoration pieces, and overall, just making sure decorations look attractive and placed properly.

Do you have any mentors at Drew?

One of my mentors is Rachel Sawyer, Associate Director of Student Engagement. She was my CRE last year as an RA for the Tolley Brown Dorms. Rachel was the only staff member I was able to relate to as a minority woman when I discussed my Latinx Culture. She has helped me with so many of my concerns, whether it be about a resident concern or personal conflict. She gives amazing advice that still helps me to this day.

Another one of my mentors is Makana Agcaoili, Associate Director of Student Engagement. He was the advisor for RHA when I was elected to be the Tolley Representative for the RHA General Board. Second semester of my first year, I ran for NCC with Russell Levi as my President for the RHA Executive Board and we won. Makana was our new advisor. The trust that Makana had for Russell and I to run RHA on our own was heartwarming. We felt Makana believed that Russell and I were a good fit for RHA and that the organization was going to be in good hands as well as be successful while we were in charge.

What issue in the world means the most to you?

I believe that education is the most important thing in the world. Education allows an individual to expand their knowledge, experiment, imagine and create different possibilities. It is not fair that education is a privilege where some have access to it and others do not.

What are some of your favorite memories of Drew?

As the National Communications Coordinator of Residence Hall Association, one of my favorite memories is gifting the RAs coffee cups filled with heartfelt messages written by their residents for RA Appreciation day back in February of 2019. Another favorite memory is spending time and creating memories with Hope Sanders C’22, during Holiday Ball, First Annual Picnic, and our weekly dates.

What advice would you give students who are just starting out?

Use Google calendar to help you stay on top of your homework; mark down every deadline – exams, homework due dates, meetings, etc. Google calendar also sends out notifications to remind you of your tasks. Most importantly, schedule self-care times in your calendar so as not to feel overwhelmed or stressed or even schedule in time to hang out with friends.

What are your career goals? Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

In 5 years I hope to be working for NASA or an aerospace company doing software updates. My aim right now is to work for one of NASA’s Jet Propulsion labs.

Are there any fun facts you would like to share?

I have traveled to all of the Caribbean Islands except Cuba and visited almost all 50 states except Alaska and Hawaii.

I speak Spanish and Greek. I speak Spanish at home in Miami with my family and Greek because my cousins are half Greek and half Puerto Rican and I attended a Greek school from kindergarten to 8th grade.

 

 

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