Jess is a resident assistant for Mattia Hall on Busch campus. A sophomore from Williamstown, N.J., she is majoring in aerospace engineering.

On choosing Rutgers…

Since forever, I’ve wanted to study aerospace engineering. I love math and science. I thought about becoming a pilot or an astronaut my whole life. Rutgers was the only school in New Jersey that had a specific aerospace program. I also like how big the school is. I don’t regret coming to Rutgers, I love it so much.

On aerospace engineering…

Since I was a kid, I would always go outside to watch meteor showers. I would always keep up with news about NASA. When I started taking calculus and physics I really loved it. It even made me more sure that aerospace engineering was for me. My dad is also a space fanatic. One time, my dad planned a Disney trip revolving around a space shuttle. We were able to see the launch from Orlando. Seeing it in real time right outside our Disney hotel,  it was the best thing ever. I would like to work on space flight, anything space related I would be glad to do. I’m also interested into commercial space flight, that’s an industry coming up really soon. It’s been my dream to work for NASA, but actually now it might be SpaceX.

On what inspires her…

I really look up to and am inspired by Elon Musk. The movie Hidden Figures about women in NASA and seeing female role models in science also really inspired me. In high school I had guys in engineering tell me I couldn’t do it. I have a poster of Sally Ride, the first female to go to space in my room. I’ve had it since I was ten.

On being a woman in STEM….

My freshman year I was part of the Douglass Women in Engineering Living-Learning Community. I was surrounded by female engineers and we would always study together. Now being a RA in a co-ed engineering floor I see the other side. Engineering is mostly male and I’ve started some of my intense classes and there’s only like three women in the class. It does get tough sometimes but Douglass Residential College has given me a lot of support. I found the best mentors and people to be around. They make it really easy to get by. I don’t really ever feel alone.

On becoming a RA…

It felt like it would be good leadership experience. My RA Katie during freshman year was amazing. She was always there for her residents. Whatever question you had, she would know the answer. She always really inspired me.

On being a RA…

My roommate and I both applied and we got in. We’re both RAs at Mattia now, she’s on the fourth floor while I’m on the third. It’s been really nice. At first, I was surprised that they placed me with first year students. I was nervous because I didn’t know if I could be there like my RA was. I definitely learned a lot being with first years. I really love it so far and I think working with first years is a great experience because you are able to help guide them in the right way. Right now, I’m working on an academic program on studying for the sciences. I’ve been really excited about that. I love all my residents and would be there for them for anything. A lot of them want to do aerospace and it’s really cool to relate to them in that way. It’s been really amazing and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Other involvement…

I am in Phi Sigma Rho, an engineering sorority on campus. I love it so much. I am also in Space Technology Association at Rutgers, it’s really cool and fun being around people who love space as much as me. I am also a waitress at Henry’s Diner and play three instruments: the guitar, piano, and ukulele. I always try to play that whenever I can. It’s a good stress reliever.