Moving from St. Louis to Los Angeles would be a big adjustment for most people. But Jessica Pace was up for the challenge. The 2010 MPPA/NPML graduate knew she was making the right decision. She credits her experiences at UMSL for that.

“With the experiences I had in my classes I knew I was prepared. Having teachers who had experience in bookkeeping and fundraising made a big difference. They were beneficial to all aspects of my future.”

When asked why she chose the program at UMSL Jessica said that she was always drawn to non-profits. “The program helped connect my love of non-profit work to government. I learned to influence government outside of government.”

Her internship at StudioSTL was particularly helpful. “I am responsible for crafting voter-friendly information so I use the skills from my internship a lot,” Pace said.

After working for America Votes as the Missouri office coordinator she became the data and communications organizer for Missouri Jobs with Justice. In this capacity she developed and maintained a database of over 10,000 volunteers, fundraising and coordinating the day-to-day operations of both the St. Louis and Kansas City offices.

Then, she accepted a position with SEIU Local 721 in Los Angeles where she was the communications specialist for almost two years. This led to an opportunity with California Calls, a statewide alliance of 31 organizations in 12 counties. As the communications coordinator her focus is online media. “I create and update Facebook, LinkedIn and website pages in order to keep everyone up-to-date.”

The time she spent at UMSL is full of fond memories. “I tell people they need to get to know the professors on a personal level. That kind of connection can be valuable to your career.” So far, she has had quite a career.

-Mike Skinker