Jessica Wharton has transformed herself from PBA student-athlete and public relations major into a real life Christian game changer working for a government relations firm in Washington D.C., where she focuses her efforts on the American Soybean Association account.
As a PBA student, Wharton took advantage of the many opportunities for experiential learning that the University provides, with some of the biggest organizations in business and industry.
“I interned with ESPN Cleveland where I gained a better understanding of the real-world applications of public relations through brand building and audience outreach. Additionally, I served as a National NCAA DII Student Athlete Advisory Representative where I helped provide a voice for student athletes across the country.”
Wharton put her experiences as a PBA tennis player to work in unique ways and found her coursework challenging her to develop the kind of skills that aren’t covered in a textbook.
“PBA prepared me for the professional world through both the athletics program and public relations coursework. Being on the PBA tennis team reinforced the importance of using individual success to build and better a team, and the public relations coursework challenged me to learn and adapt quickly to new materials, prioritize deliverables and place value on professional networking.”
There are many aspects to success that can only be learned in a meaningful, real-world professional setting, which is why Wharton encourages all students to engage in as many internship experiences as they can.
“Success in the working world is defined much differently than success in the classroom and will look different for each person. For me, I’ve learned that success means seamless collaboration and ultimately, seeing the needle of opinion being changed on priority policy issues.”
No matter what you end up doing in life, Wharton believes it’s essential to pursue a career that you love and that you’ll be “all-in” on every day.
“I love the diversity of my job and who I represent. No two days are alike, some days I have meetings in the Capitol, and other days I’m in the middle of a soybean field in fly-over states, but regardless of where I am, I love representing hard-working farmers and helping to influence national policies and regulations that will ultimately help farmers farm and provide food and fuel for a growing world.”