Alumni active in community, OCC

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Oakland University alumni Jessica Newman loves to work with young people because they inspire her and she loves to see them grow.

Newman has been actively volunteering for nonprofits and been the Student LIFE Coordinator of Oakland Community College — Auburn Hills since February 2007.

Newman oversees campus student organizations, student activities, leadership development and volunteerism.

“I like to be down to earth and open,” Newman said. “I’m not that typical administrator. I like to directly connect with students.”

Newman attended the Detroit College of Business for 18 months and then transferred to OU, where she received her bachelor’s degree in English in 2001.

Newman then received her master’s degree in public administration at OU with a nonprofit management concentration in 2009.

“Before I switched to nonprofit management, my passion was English,” Newman said. “I liked to write and I love poetry and literature.”

Newman worked in collections for a law firm while finishing up her undergrad degree. She realized that she did not like that job so she decided to join the nonprofit program.

At one point in her life, Newman thought she wanted to attend law school. She currently works with the OCC Student Government and is now teaching political science as an adjunct faculty member.

Soon after getting hired at OCC, Newman was asked to work as a consultant to help engage college students. She worked as a beneficiary liaison with Stand Up for Kids from March 2009 to March 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.

She was also liaison to the Dance Marathon Executive Board at Northwestern University. Newman trained board students to reach out to kids in Chicago who were homeless and at-risk, to introduce them to alternatives to life on the street.

Newman drove to Chicago every Friday, Saturday and Sunday for one whole year to help out.

“It was a fun experience,” Newman said. “I didn’t intend to go into higher education, but now I get to work with young people and a mix of younger and older adults. I am exposed to a different sect of people.”

Newman says she’s always been interested in volunteering and community activism. She is currently working on creating a nonprofit for underprivileged youth.

Throughout grad school, Newman was an executive director of the Detroit Chapter, a nonprofit.

“She not only cares for her students, she motivates and encourages them by helping them bring out the best in themselves,” said Vishnu Ramsamy, president of Students Making a Difference in Society.

“She is kind and courteous to the students she serves and an inspiration to the community around her with her charitable heart,” he said.

In 2001, Newman was a staff writer for The Oakland Post in her last semester at OU. She wrote four articles, mostly for the sports section.

Newman likes to be versatile. She enjoys reading, writing and taking her 15-month-old son — who she says is the biggest part of her life — to the Rochester Library to read.