Jessica has always had a love for animals and the natural world. Since she was young, African wildlife has held a special place in her heart. She knew that one day she wanted to visit Africa and see its amazing wildlife and landscape. After learning about the various human-wildlife conflicts and poaching crises on the continent of Africa, she was compelled to become involved in African conservation and make a positive impact. This passion led her to volunteering on Kariega Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, where she participated in several activities in conservation and reserve management. This volunteer experience solidified her decision to pursue a career change into conservation. Not only did she fall in love with African wildlife, she also fell in love with Cape Town and South Africa as a whole.
Jessica returned to the United States on a quest to find the right graduate program that would help her further her education in conservation and one that would lay the foundation for her future career in conservation. She also participated in bottlenose dolphin research in O’Grove, Spain, and African conservation work in the Okavango Delta region of Botswana. While back home in Southern California, Jessica volunteered her time monitoring endangered shorebird species and working with plastics on local shores. She believes this Masters will strengthen her knowledge in conservation and experience in biology, so that she can help solve complex human-wildlife conflicts and poaching issues in Africa.