Jessica Wharton '14

Jessica WhartonMajor: Public Relations
Hometown: Copley, Ohio

Describe your current job role:

I work for a government relations firm in Washington, DC which specializes in agriculture policy. I specifically work on the American Soybean Association account where I coordinate national agriculture policy initiatives with ASA’s state affiliates, building grassroots support and keeping affiliates policy-literate as they connect with their Congressional representatives and work to influence national policy as it relates to agriculture.

What professional experience(s) did you have prior to your current job role?

Prior to graduating from Palm Beach Atlantic University, 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.

What do you know now that you wish you had known about being a working professional?

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. 

"...find a job you love and be 'all in'."

How did PBA prepare you for the world of work?

PBA prepared me for the professional world through both its athletics program and its public relations coursework. Being on the PBA tennis team reinforced the importance of using individual success to build and better a team, and Dr. Jamison’s coursework challenged me to learn and adapt quickly to new materials, prioritize deliverables, and place value on professional networking throughout my time at PBA. 

What advice would you give to current PBA students and/or young alumni who are about to start their first professional full-time job?

My advice to anyone entering the professional world is to find a job you love and be “all in”. For me, 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. 

Have you been mentored by anyone in your professional field since entering the workforce? 

Finding professional relationships within your field is extremely important, especially for young women in the workforce. I’d encourage anyone entering the working world to find others in your field or alumni network with similar values who can help you chart new waters and cheer you on as you succeed.

Spotlight posted in March 2018. For current updates from Jessica, visit her LinkedIn page.