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A Beacon of Digital Mastery and HBCU Advocacy


Last Updated on February 1, 2024

Confident academic professional, Dr. Jessica Love, with an afro, posing thoughtfully in a cream blazer against a light blue background.

In a world where technology and social justice intersect, Jessica Love, Ph.D. stands tall—a visionary redefining the narrative of HBCU excellence and digital media prowess. For nearly a decade, Jessica has used digital media, strategic communication and cultural research as social justice tools to advance minority funding initiatives like the Black College Fund, Hispanic Pipeline Initiative, Women of Color Scholarship, the NAACP and the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program. Her story isn’t just a tale of personal success; it’s a beacon for every student dreaming big beyond the historic campuses of HBCUs.

A Rust College Legacy Begins

“My experience at Rust College was nothing short of life-changing,” Jessica Love reflects. Unlike many high school students, she didn’t possess a strong connection to HBCUs due to lack of exposure. It was her pastor, Rev. Frenchye Magee, who ignited the spark. Despite Jessica’s initial reluctance to Rev. Magee’s invitation to Rust College—she even humorously recalls avoiding church to escape Rev. Magee’s persistent recommendations—her path was destined for Mississippi’s first black college.

“I was all set for Mississippi State University, but Rev. Magee persuaded me to at least attend Rust’s orientation,” Jessica shares. What happened next was a pivotal moment in her life. During the campus tour, she discovered that Rust College was built on a former slave auction site. This revelation profoundly connected her to her history and heritage. This deep historical connection convinced her to stay, eager to explore not just the college but also herself.

The HBCU Impact: Crafting a Future Visionary

Jessica’s academic journey at Rust College laid the cornerstone for her future success. Graduating in 2015 with a B.A. in Mass Communication, her time at Rust was transformative. Jessica developed not only academically but also as a visionary, prepared to have a significant impact, under the guidance of mentors and inspired by peers. “Rust College made way for my gifts and talents to flourish and created opportunities for me to gain experience and exposure.” Jessica Lovereflects. This period was pivotal, marking her evolution from a student to a change-maker.

Igniting a Passion for Change

A confident Jessica Love in a blue dress stands before the Rust College sign, commemorating her undergraduate journey.

From the moment she set foot on campus, Jessica knew Rust College would be where she would forge her identity. “I learned to love myself, discover my purpose, understand my navigation as a Black woman, and develop my relationship with God amongst other students,” she explained. She achieved a number of things during her time at Rust, which spoke volumes about her commitment.

Jessica became an ambassador for the college and the Black College Fund, a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, and the second woman student government president in the college’s history after more than 20 years. By the time she graduated, she had completed 5 internships. She wasn’t just an attendee; she was a standout student who thrived academically and socially, was deeply involved in campus life, and was always ready to lead.

From Graduate to Groundbreaker

Continuous academic and professional growth marked Jessica’s transformation from an ambitious student to a professional innovator. After her time at Rust College, she furthered her studies at the University of Mississippi, earning an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communication in 2017.

Her quest for knowledge didn’t stop there. In 2021, she achieved her Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Southern Mississippi. At every step of the way, the Black College fund stood structuring her path. “It’s really important for me to stress that many of my workplace experiences and career opportunities were created by the Black College Fund,” Jessica explains.

Dr. Jessica Love, dressed in graduation regalia, shares an inspirational message at Jackson State University's commencement ceremony.

Each step of her educational journey added layers to her expertise, allowing her to blend academic theories with real-world applications seamlessly. These experiences provided her with a unique perspective, which she has successfully applied in her groundbreaking role as an education marketing manager for Logitech, one of the world’s largest technology peripheral companies. She also serves as an assistant professor of Integrated Marketing Communication in Jackson State University’s Department of Journalism and Media Studies.

A Strong Advocate for GBHEM and BCF

Jessica’s dedication to education and advancement within her community led her to a significant partnership with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) and the Black College Fund (BCF). “Being able to travel the world, raise funding and awareness for Historically Black Colleges and become intimately involved in the BCF operations, helped me understand what activism in the academy truly meant,” she added. Through her collaboration with these organizations, she has been instrumental in developing initiatives that underscore the importance of minority support programs,HBCU institutions and provide support to the students who attend them.

Elevating HBCU Aspirations with GBHEM Scholarships

Continuing the legacy of support and empowerment, the GBHEM offers HBCU Scholarships, providing awards of up to $5,000 for UMC-affiliated HBCU students. These scholarships aim to alleviate financial burdens and foster success for deserving students.

If you are an active member of the United Methodist Church and have maintained a minimum 2.5 GPA, you’re invited to apply for this transformative opportunity. Don’t let this chance pass you by.

🔗 Learn more and apply for GBHEM HBCU 

A Message to Aspiring Minds

Jessica Love’s guidance for students resonates with the depth of her own experiences. “My advice to current and future HBCU students is to take advantage of the opportunity to learn about yourself, your people, and your passion,” she asserts.

Embracing the Journey Ahead

As Jessica looks to the future, her aspirations are clear: to continue blending her love for technology with her commitment to education and social justice. And for those looking to follow in her footsteps, she is a testament to the power of HBCU-nurtured courage and determination.

Jessica Love’s story isn’t just inspiring—it’s a clarion call. A call to current and future HBCU students to harness the power of their education, to be fearless in the pursuit of their passions, and to remember that their journey can inspire the next generation.

Connect with Jessica Love

For those inspired by Jessica’s journey and wishing to connect with her, she is accessible on Facebook. You can find her under the name Freshea Love.

 

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