Jessica Nelson (BR ‘18) is a sociology major from Granger, Indiana. Her area of focus within Education Studies is education policy. Her main research interest is how aspects of a child’s life outside of the school, such as home situation and food access, shape educational experiences and outcomes. Outside of academics, Nelson enjoys tap dancing and watching Gossip Girl.
In the summer of 2017, Nelson interned at the Primo Center for Women and Children, a family homeless shelter and services non-profit in Chicago, Illinois. Working with the Policy Director for the Center, she attended meetings with other service agencies, Chicago Public Schools, and the Chicago Housing Authority to raise awareness of unique difficulties that affect homeless students and advocate for policies that eased these difficulties. She also researched and prepared policy reports on a range of topics including in-home visiting programs for mothers with young children and the effectiveness of Social Impact Bonds.
Also at the Primo Center for Women and Children, Nelson spent time working in the Early Childhood Center at the shelter. In this position, she worked with educators to build an academic foundation for children under five while they were at the shelter. Nelson taught the kids basics such as the alphabet, and participated in activities that were not strictly academic such as the weekly music program.
From the fall of 2015 to the spring of 2017, Nelson taught an afterschool dance program at Cooperative Arts and Humanities HIgh School in New Haven. In this program, she worked with high schoolers to develop choreography skills, and brought in several dance groups from Yale to introduce students to different dance styles. At the end of each year, she aided the students in the production of a spring showcase.
In the Summer of 2015, Nelson interned at the Notre Dame Office of Digital Learning (ODL) in South Bend, Indiana. At the ODL, Nelson helped staff members develop videos and other media for Notre Dame’s open online courses. She also helped in the planning of Notre Dame’s Digital Week, a conference designed to introduce K-12 teachers to different technologies available to aid in the classroom.