Jessica King, University of Pennsylvania
As the Director for Community Schools Student Partnerships, Jessica oversees the largest community mentoring organization on Penn’s campus. Working through the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, Jessica’s student-run group recruits undergraduate volunteers and work-study students to mentor young scholars in West Philadelphia neighborhood schools. CSSP provides student mentors to help K-12 students with tutoring during their school day and mentorship through many afterschool programs provided by Penn. Given severe budget cuts this past academic year, the Philadelphia School District had to lay off many teachers and school staff decreasing supports for students, a void that Jessica was committed to filling with her CSSP mentors. She has taken every step to ensure that Penn mentors learn the history of Philadelphia to understand the root causes of the educational disparity they are seeking to alleviate. Through Jessica’s organization, Penn students receive an invaluable opportunity to contribute to the education of our young people and find a place to put their classroom knowledge into action. Jessica plans to work towards her Masters of Educational Leadership at our Graduate School of Education, with hopes of becoming a local principal to ensure that she can continue to improve public education in Philadelphia.