Jessica Anderson will be leaving Winona State University as a graduate this Spring, but the impact she’s left behind won’t be leaving with her.
As she heads out into her new chapter, she has no plans of letting her effort toward making an impact fade after graduation.
The Cell and Molecular Biology major has been involved in at least five campus clubs and organizations during her college experience, including the WSU Mentor Collective, Pre-Med Club, Spanish Club, and the Mock Trial.
Her biggest impact, though, has come through her work in the Volunteer Club, which she’s now the president of after formerly being the treasurer.
“I love serving my community and helping to improve the quality of life in those around me,” Anderson said.
Her passion in being involved with the Volunteer Club has been in linking students, especially new ones, to places in the community to volunteer.
Despite the struggles of keeping a student club active during a pandemic, Anderson was a key player in keeping engagement high within the club and finding creative ways to help the community.
During the 2021 Fall semester, the club logged 212 hours of volunteer work under their belts and 180 (and counting) hours this Spring semester.
Because of her hard work and dedication, Anderson received the 2022 President’s Civic Engagement Student Leadership Award, which recognizes students who show extreme passion and commitment to civic leadership and responsibility.
“It’s such an honor, I love this club, and it’s fun for me,” she said. “It’s awesome that it’s getting recognized.”
Anderson is looking forward to finding new ways to continue her passion of helping others after graduation, including pursuing a Doctor of Medicine.
“I want to put my drive and passion for helping others to good use by going into the medical field, so I can not only do what I love, but also improve the world around me,” she said.
Before going back to school, however, she plans to take a gap year to receive her EMT certification while continuing to volunteer—and hopefully continue to assist WSU’s Volunteer Club.
Anderson said there’s a lot she’ll miss about Winona State, from the tight-knit community to the accommodating professors.
“People really advocate for you here,” she said.
Looking back, she’s thankful for the many impactful mentors who helped guide her through the ups and downs of the past few years.
From the Volunteer Club advisor Laura McCauley to professors Dr. Heinz and Casey Finnerty, she had a support system that ensured she always had someone to turn to.
Anderson did her best to repay kindness she received by being a mentor for others within the clubs she’s involved in. She hopes to inspire others to get involved on campus in whatever way they feel pulled to do so.
Not only will it be fun, but also it might just lead to connections and relationships that make a difference later.
“You really make the most meaningful connections in the most unexpected places at the most unexpected times,” she said.