When Jessica Fields ‘16 began her academic journey at Illinois State, she knew she wanted to work with children and majored in human development, feeling that she would be well prepared for any career path she might take.

She specifically remembers the faculty members in her program who were especially influential in her time at the University.

“Being involved in one of the smaller majors in CAST was great because the professors and faculty members were able to take the time to get to know us as students and were always available to help us along the way. The relationships we developed going through the program were so valuable,” she said.

One of her favorite memories of her time on campus includes working in the child care center during her junior year, where she enjoyed working not only working with the kids, but the faculty and staff involved as well.

Although Fields enjoyed studying human development and valued the relationships she built with faculty, her career path ended up travelling in another direction. In addition to studying within her major and working in the child care center, she was active in the Department of Military Science’s ROTC program and commissioned into the Army after graduation—leading her to her current role that she has today.

Fields got out of active duty last December and is still in the Army Reserves. In her current position, she works directly for Four-Star Gen. James H. Dickinson, commander of the United States Space Command. In her role, Fields coordinates and works on high-profile events for him and his team.

Although her current work is not directly related to her original area of study in human development, Fields explained that she uses many of the skills she developed in her time at Illinois State.  

“In this position I am constantly in a reactive mode … working a lot of events, keeping up with a lot of people who need my attention and time. My experience at Illinois State helped me learn valuable time management skills, and prepared me for where I am today,” she said.

For Fields, the most rewarding aspect of the job is meeting so many interesting people—and knowing that her work is highly valuable and impactful.

“It’s amazing to know that with the work I am doing, I’m involved in something bigger than myself,” she said.

Her advice to students preparing to enter the workforce?

“I would say to find something your passionate about and go with it. Once you find something that has purpose and meaning to you as an individual, you will skyrocket forward in everything you do.”

To learn more about the human development major at Illinois State, visit the Department of Family and Consumer’s website. Want to learn more about the ROTC program? Visit the Department of Military Science’s website here.