Where Are They Now? Jessica Deres '12

July 15, 2014

Jessica Deres

Jessica works as a Training Specialist at the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts.

What did you study at Simmons?

I double majored in psychology and economics.

What's a typical day like at your job?

Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts serves over 4,000 adults and 9,000 girls across Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden and Worcester counties. I am responsible for developing and coordinating delivery of adult training services for these 186 communities across our council. You can usually find me plugging away at writing new or modifying current trainings to make it easier for volunteers to come onboard. I am most often out facilitating trainings across our council or meeting new people who want to offer special trainings for our leaders. I am excited that we were able to set up some STEM trainings for our leaders with help from community partners.

What was the job application process like for you?

I was never a Girl Scout! I was initially interested in volunteering my time to become a troop leader. When I browsed the website I saw the job posting and just applied! I certainly thought that because of my inexperience with Girl Scouts they wouldn't call me back, but they did! I had 3 interviews and a presentation I had to make for my supervisor at the time. It was nerve racking! I was initially hired as Volunteer Development Specialist where I would recruit, manage and support our western MA volunteers. However, with some staff transition, I have found myself in my new role as Training Specialist for the entire council.

What's your favorite part of your job?

I love meeting and talking with new people! I facilitate many trainings for our council, and I am always talking with new volunteers as I help them through the process of navigating the Girl Scout program. I like providing new leaders with some tips and tricks on how to engage with their girls. Although I work mostly with adults, I love hearing stories about fun field trips and projects the girls work on. This year we had 32 girls earn their Girl Scout Gold Award (the highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting) and the projects the girls completed are amazing. The girls spend hours on a project that will benefit their communities locally and globally.

How did you know the organization was a good fit for you?

The mission of Girl Scouts really resonates with me. Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence and character who will make the world a better place. I believe that women need to take on more leadership roles. During my time at Simmons, I worked with Strong Women, Strong Girls. I mentored a group of 25 girls at Trotter Elementary School in Dorchester, where I met some pretty remarkable 3rd-5th grade girls. Working with girls, I have found that many do not know that they hold the power to take the lead and sometimes don't have the courage to speak up. Organizations like Strong Women, Strong Girls and Girl Scouts give girls the opportunity to participate in a girl-centered community where they can explore their interests free from judgement.

What was your favorite class you took at Simmons? Why?

Fieldwork in Psychology. I was able to do an internship in the social services department at Nashua Street Jail! Nashua Street Jail houses over 700 pretrial detainees. I never (in a million years) saw myself working in a jail setting. I met great people and learned a lot about myself and my strengths during my year there. It was fascinating to be in a setting that most people only see on TV.

If you could come back and take any class at Simmons what would it be?

Any class with Bob White! I never had the chance to take one of his classes, but I have heard great things!

How has it been transitioning into a young professional?

I can't say that it has always been smooth sailing. It has been hard trying to transition into the "real" world. Being young, it's sometimes hard for people to take me seriously and get my voice heard. Many times when I am training a room full of parents or volunteers they will turn to me and ask "What troop are you in?" It has been hard being one of the youngest staff members, but I just keep pushing every day.

How did Simmons help prepare you for your career?

I actually transferred to Simmons during my junior year from a co-ed college. I can honestly say that without Simmons, I would never have decided to double major in economics and psychology. Simmons gave me the power to speak up, ask questions and explore. My professors really pushed me. Simmons has a lot to offer and my internship played a huge role in preparing me for my next adventure.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I hope to be well established in my career and I hope that I am still working to empower and enrich the lives of girls. I also wouldn't mind earning my MSW!

What advice would you give to the current Simmons undergraduate students?

Take full advantage of Simmons while you can! Go to class, meet professors, go to the Career Education Center and enjoy every minute of Boston!