12/23/2008 - Judson Alumna flying high at NASA
By Michael J. Brooks
NASA has some exciting things in its future, and Jessica Wallace is excited to write about them.
Wallace is the editor and writer for "The Marshall Star," the in-house newsletter for NASA. The newsletter keeps employees and retirees informed, and is published 50 times each year.
Wallace, a Marion native, graduated from Judson College in 2005.
"I didn't have any writing classes in high school," she said. "I began college as a biology major, but found my regular English classes interesting, especially the composition classes. That's when I decided to change majors."
Wallace majored in English and took a journalism minor, discovering she enjoyed writing.
"My journalism classes taught me at least two things that are very important in my job," she said. "The first is how to use the Associated Press style book. This is standard in the industry. And I also learned the importance of deadlines!"
Another plus for Wallace was her part-time work at The Print Shop in Marion as production assistant. There she learned more about copy-editing and publishing.
Wallace began her post-graduation career as a copy editor for "The Decatur Daily" newspaper--a job she learned about at an Alabama Press Association job fair she attended as a Judson student. Five months later she moved to NASA where she celebrated her third anniversary last September.
At NASA she is classified as a government contractor working in the public affairs office. In addition to the newsletter, she interfaces with the media alerting them to new developments and facilitating their coverage of events.
Wallace said it's thrilling to see innovations at NASA. A new rocket, the Ares, is replacing the space shuttle, and plans are underway for trips to the moon, Mars and beyond.
Wallace remains grateful for her time at Judson.
"I was a bit shy," she admits, "but college helped me get over this. Now I interview and converse with people all the time.
"Although Judson is a smaller college, it really coached me for the 'big' world that I met in my career," she said. "With the lower student-to-teacher ratios came personal interactions with my professors. The everyday opportunity to be heard strengthened my knowledge, which carries me through my job today."
*Article courtesy of the Judson College Public Relations Department.