Jessica Villa

University of San Francisco

Jessica Villa is a graduating senior majoring in Sociology and also enrolled in the Dual Degree and Teacher Preparation Program, and has served as an admirable leader at University of San Francisco. She is a second-year Advocate for Community Engagement through the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, and coordinates meaningful service-learning projects at an educational nonprofit called Mission Graduates. Jessica is committed to serving youth through educational enrichment and college readiness programming, and coordinates projects to ensure a dynamic and supportive learning environment for student program participants. She also serves as Co-chair of Latinas Unidas, a student organization dedicated to celebrating sisterhood among Latina students at University of San Francisco. She is a committed leader on campus and in the community, and inspires her peers to combat educational disparities impacting low-income students in San Francisco. We value her impact on the USF community, and commend Jessica for her social justice and education advocacy throughout her undergraduate career.

Fr. Paul J Fitzgerald
University of San Francisco

Personal Statement

As a child, I remember my mother's voice saying, "¡Échale ganas!"(roughly meaning "give it your all"), as I completed my homework after school on our kitchen table. My parents constantly reinforced the idea that education was the key to success as an immigrant family in the United States. This has greatly informed the way I engage with communities through service during my college career. Education should provide the tools necessary for marginalized communities to advocate for themselves in support of their individual and collective goals. In working with Mission Graduates in San Francisco, I have come to realize the importance of community involvement and leveraging neighborhood assets in support of students. I have learned this firsthand through my engagement with the Mission District community, which is comprised of primarily Latinos, immigrant families, and first generation students. Each semester I coordinate service-learners from University of San Francisco placed with Mission Graduates, and challenge them to break the deficit-based narratives often told of the youth in San Francisco's Mission District. My service experiences have greatly influenced my career path as a future teacher, as I aspire to teach for social justice and equity in academically underserved communities.

Jessica Villa
Sociology: Class of 2016
written 2016

2016 Fellows Alphabetical by Institution

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Karmen Kurtz, UNC Asheville Erin Coggins, UNC Charlotte Juan Emilio García Estrada, Universidad de Monterrey Sonce Reese, University of Baltimore Lillian McEntire, University of Central Arkansas Katie Richard, University of Central Oklahoma Joshua Higginbotham, University of Charleston Elizabeth Charash, University of Connecticut Kayla J. McLaughlin, University of Dayton Ciera Kathryn Blehm, University of Denver Andy Garcia, University of Florida Brittany Shipman, University of Great Falls Rima Nimri, University of Illinois at Chicago Maribel Hernandez, University of La Verne Benjamin Webster, University of Maryland Eastern Shore Rachael Parran, University of Maryland, Baltimore Max Poole, University of Maryland, Baltimore County Joel Colon, University of Massachusetts Boston Chris LaPorte, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Alexis Musick, University of Miami Hawa Ali, University of Minnesota Rochester Daniel Mueller, University of Missouri - St. Louis Mackenzie Lombardi, University of Montana Katelyn Gonczy, University of Mount Union Antonio Campbell, University of Nebraska Omaha Zachary Bolster, University of New Hampshire Michael Elliott, University of New Hampshire - Manchester John Blessing, University of North Georgia Shelby Yates, University of Northern Iowa Caitlin Hodges, University of Notre Dame Jeffrey Wiseman, University of Pennsylvania Ian Kanterman, University of Rhode Island Jennifer Paradis, University of Saint Joseph Jessica Villa, University of San Francisco Theresa M. Lacey, University of South Carolina Beaufort Cindy Kuo, University of Utah Mirella Espino, University of Wisconsin Colleges-University of Wisconsin-Extension Nasitta Keita, University of Wisconsin-Madison Marley Uran, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
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