Published 06/09/14

Jessica May Vickers ’14: Nurturing a passion for sustainability innovation

Major:  Environmental Science
Minor:  Management
Hometown: Montrose, Colorado
Path:  Making a difference in the world

Jessica Vickers '14, co-captain of Bryant’s Division I tennis team, began playing the sport at the age of nine in Brunei Darussalam, a sovereign state on the Island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. At 14, she moved to Colorado and, in her junior year, competed at a tennis showcase at Yale University. It was there she met head women’s tennis coach Barbara Cilli and was intrigued to learn that she could study both science and business at Bryant.

After recruitment visits to a number of schools, she stepped onto the Bryant campus. “I knew this was where I wanted to go,” she recalls. “The atmosphere and all-inclusive culture drew me toward this school over other programs.” Vickers toured the well-equipped science laboratories with Professors Gaytha Langlois and Julia Crowley Parmentier, who emphasized how the small size of the science program meant individual attention for each student, multiple research opportunities, and the option to personalize a major.

Her ultimate career goal: chief sustainability officer of a Fortune 500 company

Vickers’ father has been geophysicist in the oil industry for more than 20 years, which influenced her choice of Environmental Science as a major. She thrived in her academic program and seized every opportunity to collaborate on research projects with faculty members. Her mentor, Professor Langlois, provided support and information regarding research, fellowships, and internships, as well as a network of valuable contacts.

Significant professional experience

In the summer of 2013, Vickers served as a corporate sustainability services Intern at Waste Management in Houston. Other professional experience includes:

  • Campus Sustainability Intern, EcoMotion, Cambridge, MA
  • Clean Energy Solutions Fellow, National Wildlife Federation, Smithfield, RI (Read about her experience in this NWF blog entry)
  • Laboratory Research Assistant, Laboratory for Terrestrial Environments, Bryant University
  • CRLA-Level 1 Certified Peer Tutor/Writing Consultant, Academic Center for Excellence, Bryant University

At Commencement, Vickers received the Environmental Science Leadership Award and the Student Senate Service Award. Among her many co-curricular activities, she was appointed one of the first Sustainability Ambassadors on campus, collaborating with other members to ensure the successful establishment of the program and coordination of two major sustainability competitions.

“My passion and eco-mission focuses on sustainable innovation and the integration of sustainability initiatives into business strategies, organizations, and communities,” she says. “I am driven to make a difference in the world.” Having a business minor helped her to stand out and prepared her to be a team player and a team leader, she says.

Vickers will continue her education at the University of Pennsylvania in the Master of Environmental Studies program (concentration in sustainability), one of five graduate schools she was accepted to. This will bring her one step closer to achieving her ultimate career goal: chief sustainability officer of a Fortune 500 company.

“The sky is the limit at Bryant University because of collaborative, supportive faculty who are open to innovation and passionate about the subject matter,” she says. “From my freshman year, they provided me with an amazing foundation for continuous growth.”