Jesika Barnes
Photo provided by Jesika Barnes

The amazing life journey of Jesika Barnes

On her way to becoming the leader she is today, ASUCC president and 2020 graduate Jesika Barnes had a similar story to most of us in our early childhood.

Her parents divorced when she was four years old. She moved around repeatedly, from Oregon to California to France, never getting enough time to solidify relationships. School was not always kind to Barnes. She often felt worn-out and unmotivated.

Even so, Barnes does not believe in wasted experiences. Even a bad experience is still an experience which can be learned from. By fourth grade, Barnes was already cross-age tutoring peers at her school.

Cross-age tutoring pairs students from different grades and ability levels to work on an academic skill together. The student with the higher ability is the tutor, while the lower ability student is the tutee. Barnes was usually the tutor.

At UCC, she received two outstanding student awards for her tutoring. She is also one of three nominated for the Jacoby award, which is the highest honor for a graduating UCC student. It recognizes a student for their academic efforts and their service to the college along with their service to the community.

Part of her service to the college was through Phi Theta Kappa as a regional officer. PTK’s goal is to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students.  Barnes is often remarkably busy due to everything she is involved in at UCC and elsewhere.

Barnes’s love for her grandmother was a deciding factor in her decision to move back to the area and to get so involved in leadership.

Barnes talks very highly of her grandma, stating that she was the strongest influence in her life. Barnes’s grandmother was the one who got her back into theatre, pushing and supporting her. This year, Barnes played the lead character Catherine in “Proof” at Centerstage theatre at UCC. She also played in the college’s reproduction of “War of the Worlds”.

The only thing Barnes would currently change about her life, if given a chance, she would have moved back to Oregon sooner to be able to spend more time with her grandma.

Barnes was helped by her grandma as well as other family and friends to come out of her shell, and she is now bringing others out of their shells. Most of the ASUCC leadership that Barnes recruited did not see themselves as leaders, until Barnes helped them.

She cares for every member of her team, and says it was a great experience to watch and help them grow into the leaders they are today.

 “If I hadn’t had people in my life who saw my leadership- skills, I don’t know where I’d be today. I encourage everyone to take every opportunity they get to improve their lives and the lives of others.”

Barnes would like the student body to know that two ASUCC officer positions and one senator position are available next year.

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