The 22 year-old was born in Miami. Both her parents were born and raised in Jamaica, and she currently resides in Tampa, Florida where she is pursuing a double Bachelors/Masters Degree in Language, Speech and Hearing with a focus on Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD), and Sociology with a focus on Identity and Community, at the University of South Florida.
Prior to attending USF, Jessica attended Miami-Dade College where she served as President of the Florida Caribbean Students Association. She describes one of the more memorable moments of her youth as the last day of the FCSA‘s 40th Leadership Conference. “l learned much about myself and the importance of community, while learning how to produce large scale functions and events. This moment empowered me to journey paths I never envisioned for myself.”
She later advanced to the position of Vice-President for the statewide organization FCSA, where she contributed to important discussions that pertain to the dynamic lives of the students she met with. One discussion during a general meeting at Miami Dade College by Tropical Beat, CSA, was on the subject of colorism or skin bleaching that lead to an enlightened conversation on cultural norms, self-love, and the need for youth to have more confidence in themselves.
Having great value for communication and always encouraging others to try and express themselves in all situations, “I think I have the opportunity to give people their voices! Unfortunately, this is not a very diverse field, being predominately practiced by White women. I hope to make waves in the comradery of minority Speech Pathologists…specifically in the treatment of minority cultures in America.”
Jessica wants to encourage youth in the Jamaican Diaspora to understand that no matter what, they should be conscious of their capabilities. Jessica plans on continuing on to obtain her Ph.D. in CSD.
Jessica sees her Jamaican heritage reflected in nearly all aspects her life, from the food she eats, to her life’s perspective. “Jamaica has been the greatest influence on the woman I am today. Fortunately, my love for culture and my being able to relate to life as a Jamaican-American makes me want to focus my future research and practice on people of the Caribbean.”