Profile by Matt Pelucacci (’18)
Jessica Smith, United States Army Intelligence Officer
Lacing Up Her Boots
Jessica graduated Marywood in a position which many college graduates find themselves in: unsure of what direction to head in. She did, however, possess an urge and passion to see the world. She didn’t want a normal career where she would become stagnant. “I graduated from Marywood and traveled abroad heavily for about a year. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life but I definitely didn’t want to stay in one place for too long,” she explains. She eventually chose a career of service through the United States Army. Jessica found her specialty in the critical field of Intelligence. She draws on skills such as analysis, organization, written and verbal communication, leadership, and an understanding of how other cultures operate in order to serve and defend our nation. These skills were all developed through the study of English.
Jessica’s experience at Marywood helped her become what she is today. She learned how to analyze and deconstruct texts through classes such as Dr. Conlogue’s Literary Criticism class. “[The class] was so fascinating, and I became quite obsessed with deconstruction theory for a while afterwards,” she recalls. Close reading and interpretation skills helped her to refine her skills in Intelligence. She found English to be more than meets the eye. As an Intelligence Officer, Jessica benefits from the diverse strengths the study of English can build: “The interdisciplinary nature of studying English breeds more opportunities than studying a single-scope subject. Because of that, English allows you to be a chameleon in the workplace.” English helps her understand the culture, history, philosophy, and anthropology of another society, allowing her to interpret and analyze enemy information and counter enemy tactics. It also gives her diverse capabilities, rendering her able to handle many different professional responsibilities and personal interests.
Outside of her duties, Jessica enjoys exploring the world and continues to live a high speed lifestyle. She travels whenever she can for both leisure and business. Her hobbies are mostly fitness- and travel-related. She competes in half marathons, enjoys exploring craft breweries wherever she can, and also continues to educate herself when she finds time. She likes to find a quiet, calm nook to learn how to code or read a story from one of her favorite books, The Collector of Treasures and Other Botswana Village Tales by Bessie Head. She is studying code to potentially transition to a new field of technology and design, never slowing down and always moving forward.
Jessica’s path has shown her the world, pushed her limits, and led her to a career of adventures, experiences, and duty. She offers the following inspirational advice to current and aspiring English Majors: “Don’t pigeonhole yourself into a teaching or an editing gig (unless of course that’s what you really want). English majors are chameleons—we can blend in and bring value to any organization.” She has learned and demonstrated the multifaceted capabilities of the English major. Jessica recommends always pursuing new experiences that allow you to see the world, such as studying abroad or traveling. She has been driven by passion, and we can all take a tip from Jessica’s personal philosophy: “I believe in studying what you love. Everything else will fall into place.”