This archived article was written by: Casey Warren
At Utah State University Eastern, Jessica Prettyman has numerous job titles, including student. “I have earned an associate of science degree from USUE and am also pursuing a bachelor in social work on campus. I will graduate in the spring of 2017.”
“[On campus] I am the admission liaison for potential students. I help students finalize their applications for admissions and work closely with our admission officer in Logan.
“I am the administrative assistant for the director of enrollment; I assist the director with travel arrangements, budgeting and other various tasks. I am [also] the campus event scheduler. I coordinate with various departments, student government and off campus individuals to ensure room availability and [confirm] that the event set up meets their expectations.”
Prettyman began her career at USUE by working at the campus store. “My mother was working at the college and told me about an opening at the Campus Store. [During my employment there], I enjoyed the [company of] students and my coworkers and wanted to stay. I worked in the Campus Store for four years and applied for the administrative assistant position and have been working in this position since.”
Careers bring joys and challenges. Prettyman shares, “As the admission liaison; the part I enjoy about my job is watching the students understand that college may be an option for them. Some of the students that I help never considered college a part of their future. Helping them to understand that they can attend classes, work part time on campus, [apply for] financial aid to receive Pell Grants and scholarships and change their future is a very rewarding thing to witness.”
“I think the most challenging part of my position is working with students and trying to help them understand all of the different options; sometimes there are students who don’t qualify for a scholarship or they are not eligible for a Pell grant and I can see the disappointment in their faces.”
Prettyman wouldn’t have the position she does without taking risks. “The biggest risk for me was when I decided to return to school. I had just changed careers and was uncertain of how my classes were going to affect my life; I was [also] scared it would hurt my relationship with my husband. After I had my children, I was worried that I wouldn’t be available to help them grow up and learn how to handle the world’s struggles.
“Looking back, I don’t regret my decision to return to school. I know that my schooling has changed me for the better and am excited to see what the future holds after I complete my degree.
My only regret about school [is that] I wish I would have taken it more seriously. I was busy planning my future with my husband and my education took the back seat. I know that [he] would have waited and supported me through school. I could have [completed it sooner, becoming] more available for my children.”
Inspiration for Prettyman is found one generation back. “My mother is a big source of inspiration for me. She has been through so much and continues to see the light and the positive things through everything she has experienced.”
If Prettyman could meet any one person she, “would love to meet John Wayne. My grandfather introduced me to his movies and then my father helped my love continue to grow. I know some of his movies are cliché and predictable, but I love the message that [they share]; work hard, be honest and try to do the right thing.”
In addition to graduating, Prettyman has a dream for the next 10 years. “I would like to open my house for foster care. I want to work with youth that are preparing to age out of the foster-care system. I want to help them find resources available to them and do what I can to assist them.”
If money didn’t matter and she could go anywhere, Prettyman would choose Ireland. “I find the area absolutely fascinating and would love to learn more about the culture and the history.”
Prettyman shares her words of wisdom for students at USUE. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The faculty and staff at USU Eastern want to see you succeed. If you are struggling in classes, ask for extra help. If you are unsure of the next step you need to take, make an appointment with your adviser. If you want to see a change on campus, talk with someone in EUSA about your idea and see what resources they have.”