JESSICA ANDERSON, a senior majoring in African and African American studies, will give the student Convocation address during university opening ceremonies at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, in the Main Quad. Anderson, who is from Chicago, was recently named a Truman Scholar. The scholarship provides up to $30,000 for graduate study to college juniors with “exceptional leadership potential” who are committed to careers in public service.
Anderson was selected Convocation student speaker by a committee comprising representatives of New Student Orientation, Undergraduate Advising and Research, Student Activities and University Communications. The student speaker is the sole student representative at Convocation, a ceremony that welcomes new students and their families to the Stanford community and opens the academic year.
Anderson eventually plans to pursue a master’s degree in education leadership with the aid of her Truman Scholarship. Her goal is to help transform the educational system in her hometown. While enrolled at the Bing Stanford in Washington Program, Anderson served as an intern at the Children’s Defense Fund. At the Bing Overseas Studies Program in Cape Town, South Africa, she taught math and social science to 8th and 9th graders at the Centre of Science and Technology. She has also taught students how to research and develop proposals with the Mikva Challenge, a civic literacy nonprofit in Chicago, and helped other students in the program make recommendations to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to start an initiative to offer free fares on city buses to low-income students. She has tutored as part of the Haas Center Public Service Tutoring Program.
Anderson is also an accomplished musician. She has been a program fellow at the Institute for Diversity in the Arts and co-founded the Chicago Collective, an Afro-Jazz fusion group at Stanford. She appeared as Celie in The Color Purple: A New Musical, produced by the BlackStage Theatre Company and the Department of Drama. She was director of the Stanford Gospel Choir from 2011 to 2012.
She is currently writing and producing a musical that will debut at Stanford in the spring.
Be sure to come to Convocation on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 4 p.m. in the Main Quad for the opening of the new academic year!