PHutures – 100 Alumni Voices »

Jessica Albrent

“I want to come in as somebody who helps the students here really tap into their own potential and their own community’s potential in their growth and their possibilities that they have.”

School of Education

Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education, EdD 2021

Assistant Professor at Lahore University of Management Sciences

Jessica‘s Podcast Episode

In this episode, we discuss Jessica’s journey from the Peace Corps, to unexpectedly working in international education, pursing her doctorate in education, and entering academia, her value-driven approach to making decisions about her career, and her advice for taking breaks when needed and being ok with following your own timeline.

Learn More About Jessica‘s Story

We are all a product of our families, and, as an only child, my cousins were especially important to me. They remain key markers of who I am and where I came from. My paternal cousins (Josh, Shane, and Melissa) and I were particularly excited about getting a sugary cereal on one my visits with them, and our excitement was immortalized. What I love about this picture is that it remains a joke about 30 years after it was taken. A few years ago, Melissa bought me a HUGE bag of off brand Lucky Charms marshmallows and sent it to me in Oman. Whenever I find Lucky Charms for sale internationally, I buy it and post a picture for them to see (it is a rare occurrence). I love how social media has allowed me to remain connected to my family, despite 20 years outside the USA.

In Tanzania I started Bharatanatyam with my first guru, Ms. Anu Siva. Bharatanatyam is a classical Indian dance, deeply rooted in Hinduism. I was so fortunate to find my gurus, Srikanth (far left) and Aswathy (far right) in India, and they, along with Anu, worked with me intensely for two years to prepare me for my arrangetram, or first solo show in Kozhikode, India. This experience helped me develop a critical outlook towards my own positionality that is reflected in my current work. They also reinforced how no one succeeds alone; although you only see the dancer and musicians on the stage, there is a massive community behind them. I am not a skilled dancer, but the efforts of communities in two countries got me through the performance, with meaningful relationships that endure 10 years later. My mother is in the white and pink sari and my close friend, Abi, is behind her, reflecting the support I receive beyond the dance community. This was one of the most impactful moments of my life; I was deeply honored to be on that stage.