Jessica Hallgath

2017 Pursuing her Dreams


What makes you a Difference Maker?

When thinking about what makes me a Difference Maker, one of my favorite quotes by Henry David Thoreau came to mind: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams; live the life you have always imagined.” I have been very fortunate thus far to meet people from all walks of life through my involvement in my church community, UM-Dearborn community, Alpha Omega Epsilon, mission trips abroad, employment with a nonprofit, and living out of state. By being very intentional with the relationships I have made in these organizations, I have been able to see that everyone I meet has a different dream that they are confidently pursuing. This is inspiring to me, and pushes me to be better every day. Through confidently pursuing my dreams, I have been able to inspire and lead others to do the same. Long story short, I firmly believe in leading by example, and I believe that is what makes me a Difference Maker.

Campus Achievements:

I am a Chancellor’s Scholarship recipient. I have received University Honors for three semesters—Fall 2014, Winter 2015 and Fall 2015—and have been on the CECS Dean's List every semester. In 2015, I was also honored by the Spanish Program.

My involvement in campus life began as a freshman when I became a member of Student Activities Board and Alpha Omega Epsilon, a professional engineering and technical science sorority.

I have also begun working as a grader/teaching assistant for Assistant Professor Patrick Lynch’s thermodynamics class. I love getting to know students I wouldn’t normally have classes with and serving the campus in this way.

My leadership roles have allowed me to be initiated into the Order of Omega Honor Society for Greek Life members, Golden Key International Honor Society and National Society of Leadership and Success. I was also honored as a Leadership Synergy Certificate recipient in 2015.

Leadership Experiences:

On campus, much of my leadership experience has come from my involvement in Alpha Omega Epsilon. My first semester, I became philanthropy chair, which I really enjoyed because I was able to organize an event for my sorority with Habitat for Humanity. Next, I served for a year as treasurer, which I enjoyed because I was able to use skills I had learned from my job at Appalachia Service Project. Last semester I served as our vice president of recruitment. This semester I have been serving as president, and it has been the most rewarding experience in my sorority life thus far. Being able to work with staff at UM-Dearborn, the international board of my sorority and my sorority sisters has challenged me in new ways as a leader.

Off campus, I am considered a leader in my church. I have been involved since I first joined youth group in the seventh grade. I served as president of my youth group during my senior year of high school. In 2012, I was the youngest member of our congregation to travel on a mission trip to Haiti. I have also done mission work in Appalachia and Jamaica. I have worked in the children’s ministry department since graduation, providing nursery care during the church services. This had led me to volunteer more with the kids at church, through Parent’s Night Out and holiday events. I was even able to collaborate between my church and sorority to do STEM outreach at an event. I love being able to act as a role model for the young people in our community.

For the last two summers I have worked for Appalachia Service Project, a nonprofit based out of Johnson City, Tenn., which seeks to eradicate sub-standard housing in Central Appalachia. Through this organization, I have worked as a construction manager and financial coordinator of construction projects. This involves working directly with 3 other staff members, low-income families and volunteers (youth and adults) from all over the country. This is the position that has challenged and forged the majority of my leadership skills. Working 60+ hours a week doing something that I am so passionate about has completely changed my life.

What is your Dream Career?

My dream career is to work in a hospital setting as a clinical engineer. My mom used to work as a clinical service representative and loved working in the hospital setting, which is what inspired me to go into a medical discipline. I am most interested in clinical medical devices and technology and would love to be the person who implements this into the facility itself.

Additionally, I have been grateful for the ways in which my professors have inspired me, and I would love to also work as a professor one day. My plans are not entirely clear right now—but I can’t wait to see where my degree in bioengineering takes me!

What was your Defining Moment at UM-Dearborn?

My most defining moment at UM-Dearborn has been my experience as a teaching assistant. This position requires me to host a tutoring session for three hours each week. I really enjoy this time because I get to meet and become friends with students I may have otherwise never met. To me, these sessions are the embodiment of the UM-Dearborn community feel. Also, I feel great when I am able to help students understand the material. Teaching others is one of the main ways I have been able to apply what I have learned.