Alumni Profile: Jessica Skelton

Jessica Skelton sitting at her Girlstart desk

Degree: 2015, B.S. Interdisciplinary Studies, minor in Spanish

Hometown: Fort Worth, TX

Post-graduation: Program Assistant, Girlstart

Why did you decide to attend Texas State?

Because I was going into education. Texas State has an awesome reputation for that specifically, so I was already looking. Also, my mom went to Texas State; I grew up going to the San Marcos River. I was already in love with the town and the university. Plus I got a scholarship!

What first attracted you to your major?

In high school I was part of a program visiting elementary and middle school classrooms — I was assigned a student to mentor. Meeting them, seeing those moments when a concept clicked, that really drew me to the profession.

What is student life like here?

Student life is very diverse. There are so many groups of people — there is a place for any type of person looking for any type of community.

I was part of a service organization called Chi Beta Delta, and I was a PACE peer mentor.

My classes were very hands-on. The curriculum did a really good job not only of teaching us things but letting us practice it.

What advice would you give an incoming freshman about Texas State?

Be open to new experiences. Get out of your comfort zone. Go to the Quad and look at everything that’s available. Don’t be afraid to try something and hate it — try again until you find your fit.

How did Texas State prepare you for your career? Did you have experiences here that helped you define your path?

My classes were very hands-on. The curriculum did a really good job not only of teaching us things but letting us practice it. By the time I was teaching, I felt like I’d been doing it for a while.

One of my biggest shaping moments was study abroad in Costa Rica for my advanced Spanish courses. That showed me where my students would be coming from when learning a second language, learning English.

I was also part of Honors. I took this awesome course by Diann McCabe called “Teaching Poetry to Children.” We were almost immediately in the classroom, helping children write poems, and that really shaped my path.

Through Career Services, I was looking for a part-time job, and Girlstart popped up. I started at Girlstart as an intern my sophomore year, and I worked with them all through college. After I graduated, I worked as a teacher in Pflugerville and in Costa Rica, and then came back to Girlstart. I’ve been here three years now. I’m not in a classroom currently but I’m working with students, doing curriculum.

During my student teaching, I found that I wanted to focus more on science, and that’s what Girlstart does.

What do you like best about your current job?

I like that I am able to reach a bunch of elementary-aged girls and empower them to look into different careers and be brave and explore science, even though traditionally that’s not something girls are encouraged to pursue. I like that I’m doing my part to change that stereotype.