Compassionate Leader in Affordable Housing
From Psychology to Housing: How Bonner Helped Change Her Path
When starting at Wofford College, Jessica Holcomb thought she wanted to be a psychiatrist. Through her experience as a Bonner Scholar, she learned that her passions lie in public service. Finding a job in housing has shown Jessica the value of being open to accepting opportunities that allow her to serve and make a change in the community.
A native of upstate South Carolina, Jessica Holcomb found herself choosing to stay close to home and attend Wofford College with the goal of pursuing a career in psychiatry.
Her interests soon began to change. During her tenure as a Bonner Scholar, Jessica took advantage of all the opportunities presented to her: serving as Senior Intern, attending Bonner Congress, and even doing summers of service in New York City and San Francisco. For one summer of service, Jessica was part of the Shepherd Program at Washington and Lee University. The Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability allowed her to take courses on issues surrounding poverty and engage in direct service work with local communities.
Through the experiences afforded to her, Jessica realized that she wanted to “make a change and give back, so I switched my major from psychology to sociology. I knew that whatever I ended up doing in the future, I would want it to be in the public sector.”
After graduation, Jessica applied to many around the country. She then realized that ,“If I do want to make a difference, I would love for it to be back home.” Jessica decided to narrow down her job search to South Carolina, where she currently works and resides.
Jessica was offered a job in her hometown of Spartanburg, SC and has been creating her legacy there ever since. She was hired as Assistant Property Manager at Spartanburg Housing Authority seven years ago. She now serves as the Deputy Director of Asset Management and Special Projects working directly with property managers and capacity building for information technology. Though she could not have predicted her long-standing career in the housing sector, Jessica found herself in the exact field and job that is most fulfilling to her. She loves that she can provide people with a home.
Staying Involved with Bonner
Working in Spartanburg has given Jessica the opportunity to remain involved with the Wofford College Bonner Scholar Program. Since she attributes her major career change to her Bonner experience, Jessica appreciates being invited back to attend the December All-Bonner meetings to share her Bonner journey and its subsequent effects on her career path. She believes that Bonner is the reason that she had the opportunity to self-reflect and discover her passions. Leaving her comfort zone and taking full advantage of the Bonner Program and its resources have allowed Jessica to get to where she is today. With this in mind, she suggests that, similarly, students should “take advantage of the opportunities afforded to [them].”
Check out some of Jessica’s favorite books:
- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by: Sheryl Sandberg
- The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by: Wes Moore
Written by Aleah Qureshi, Bonner Alumna of Wofford College ‘18
Read Jessica's job profile here.
Click here for a downloadable version of this profile.