PhD, Biology, West Virginia University
MS, Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development, University of Maryland-College Park
BS, Conservation Science, Muskingum University
Despite starting her academic career researching and working with animals, Jessica's interest quickly became rooted in plants. During her doctorate, she studied climate change in northern Alaska and the conservation of American ginseng as it relates to surface mining in Appalachia. After being a three-year recipient of the competitive ‘Botany in Action’ science communication fellowship through Phipps Conservatory, Jessica realized her passion was disseminating science. As The Morton Arboretum’s first ‘Treeologist,’ she plays a unique role in communicating, consulting, and promoting science and conservation with numerous stakeholders and audiences. While centered in the Science and Conservation Department, she supports the mission of The Morton Arboretum by working closely with the departments of Education, Collections, and Marketing to help catalyze tree advocacy by creatively making tree science, horticulture, and conservation relevant and accessible.
In addition to her role as a Treeologist, she serves as an Auxiliary Board Member at The Chicago Council on Science and Technology, on the Advisory Council - as well as the Youth Engagement Chair - of the national Seed Your Future Campaign, and as an advisor for the Priority Plant Species of the Chicago Area Initiative. She also serves as the Marketing and Outreach Work Group Co-chair for Chicago Region Trees Initiative. She is an Adjunct Professor for Association of Colleges in the Chicago Area (ACCA). During her doctorate, for the three years she was eligible, Jessica received ‘The Most Productive Biology Graduate Student Award’ at West Virginia University and the competitive Phipps Conservatory Botany in Action Fellowship. Throughout her professional career, she has developed scientific outreach and environmental workshops for all ages, published scientific papers and popular press articles, presented at conferences, and participated in media outreach, including creating radio public service announcements and YouTube videos.