Jessica was born in Paris, but soon moved to Nouakchott, Mauritania, followed by the Washington, D.C. area, and finally graduated from high school in Jerusalem, Israel/Palestine. After such an upbringing, she logically decided to study peacebuilding and development at Eastern Mennonite University where she invested much of her free time in student activism and advocacy. Warned of paternalistic development models, Jessica joined a two-year program through the Mennonite Central Committee focused on fostering relationships between North and South Americans and accompanying grassroots peacebuilding initiatives in Colombia. Having gained a love of salsa dancing and working at the community level, Jessica returned to the United States in 2013 to work as a community organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) in Virginia, focusing largely on affordable housing and education-related issues. In January, she quit her job in order to travel the world for seven months and explore its beauty as well as the role of civil society organizations and their ability to create change in areas of conflict. She is particularly interested in the role of civil society, de-colonization movements and exploring ways to acknowledge and repair historic injustices and their current ramifications, especially within the fields of international relations and development. In her free time Jessica enjoys game nights, any group singing activity and most outdoor activities such as hiking, running and reading under shady trees, or climbing said trees.