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Pictured is Jessica Hobson, M.A. in leadership student and employment specialist for UPMC. | Photo by Victoria A. Mikula

Meet Jessica Hobson

Degree pursuing: Master of Arts in Leadership with a concentration in Leadership for Social Innovation, Point Park University
Expected graduation: April 2016
Job title:
Employment Specialist - Campus Programs, Workforce Development and Recruitment Events
Employer: UPMC
Grad school activities: PA eMentor, St. Charles Lwanga Church website committee, Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board Learn and Earn Mentor and National Black M.B.A. Association Pittsburgh Chapter
Degrees earned: B.A. in Human Resources Management and Technology, 2014, Carlow University
Hometown: Penn Hills, Pa.
High school: Oakland Catholic High School
Now living in: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Hobbies/interests: Cheering for Pittsburgh sports teams (especially the Buccos and Steelers), spending time with my family at Moraine State Park, spending the weekend improving the community through volunteer work, and exploring new restaurants/stores within the city
Twitter: @hobson_jess
LinkedIn: Jessica Hobson

Tell us about your recent presentation at the Panther Leadership Summit.

The Panther Leadership Summit provides high-quality leadership training to University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education Consortium students. The 2016 event included workshops focused on personal leadership, organizational leadership and civil/global leadership.

My workshop presentation, "Organizational Leadership: Managing Change," provided students with an opportunity to explore organizational leadership and change management as well as theories such as transformational leadership. Students engaged in group discussions surrounding leadership practices and also participated in an activity focused on forecasting obstacles and finding solutions.

Why did you choose Point Park for graduate school?

I decided to pursue a master's degree at Point Park because of the convenient location, small class sizes and flexible scheduling options. In making my decision, it was very important for me to find an academic program that would fit my busy schedule but also challenge and excite me at the same time.

Describe the teaching style of your professors at Point Park.

Throughout the M.A. in leadership program, my professors facilitated hybrid classes, which created a collaborative learning environment. Initially, I was a bit hesitant to the idea of open discussion as a primary method of learning. However, after my first class I grew to love it! Point Park is an extremely diverse university and the M.A. in leadership program brings together students from every walk of life. I've learned more from class discussions than I've ever learned from reading a textbook.

In what ways have your M.A. leadership classes helped you in your role with UPMC?

In my M.A. leadership courses, I have worked on projects focused on veteran advancement, leadership development and cultural competency in decision making.

As an employment specialist at UPMC, much of my role entails working with a team to identify and eliminate barriers to employment within the region while connecting talented individuals to meaningful employment. We also work to identify methods of advancement for veterans and individuals with disabilities, as well as underrepresented individuals in the region.

Each project in the M.A. program has not only challenged my critical thinking and problem solving skills, but also enhanced my ability to work within a team to achieve a common goal.

What are your career goals?

I have a strong passion for community engagement as well as professional development so I'm looking forward to continuing to work within the community to not only increase employability in our region, but also to promote healthy lifestyles and financial stability.

In the near future, I would like to expand upon my leadership experiences by participating in a leadership development program and would like to eventually return to Point Park to obtain my Ph.D. in community engagement.

Do you have a favorite quote?

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Walt Disney

Photo by Victoria A. Mikula, junior mass communication major


More About: student presentations, Rowland School of Business, Oakland Catholic High School, graduate programs, UPMC, Downtown Pittsburgh, M.A. in leadership