The Earth Grant program is welcoming Jessica Estrada as the new Earth Grant Program Coordinator this month! Jessica will continue the coordination and development of the Earth Grant Program as Leona Davis steps into another position in AIR. Jessica will support the Earth Grant students and mentors as the internships continue to develop this school year. She will also work closely with Lexis, the Program Assistant, in co-facilitating the leadership development workshops. We asked Jessica some questions to get to know her!
What are you most excited about in your new role as Earth Grant Program Coordinator?
I’m excited to work with college students and support their professional growth. I’ve mostly worked with younger youth so I’m excited for this new challenge. The Earth Grant program gives students such amazing opportunities, so I’m excited to be a part of that. I remember struggling to juggle schoolwork, a non-paid internship and work. Many students don’t have the privilege to not have to work while getting their degree, so being able to get paid and intern at an organization that fits their career goals and further their skills is great. I’m also excited to join the UArizona as an employee, it’s a full circle moment!
What is your professional background before joining the AIR team?
Before joining the AIR team, I worked at Living Streets Alliance as the Safe Routes Coordinator. I was at LSA for about two years and learned a lot about transportation advocacy and mostly worked directly with schools and students to encourage walking and biking to school. Before that I was at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona for about four years. That was my first job after graduating college and I was excited to enter the workforce! I supported volunteers and families through their mentorship relationships.
What brought you to Tucson?
I came to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona. I graduated in 2016 with a B.S. in Sustainable Built Environments. Before that I lived in Sierra Vista, AZ which is a small town South of Tucson. I was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and still have a lot of family there and visit as often as I can.
What are your go to restaurants?
I am a creature of proximity and don’t venture too far East or just too far from my home/work area. Fortunately, my previous jobs have been in buildings close to downtown or other cool eating spots. Ceres Pasta is a cool hidden spot that’s amazing for lunch. One of my favorites is Jun Dynasty on Grant! I also enjoy going to Wild Garlic Grill and Noodleholics is amazing on a cold day.