Jessica Jeffers is the coordinator for the Cook Grand Challenge Honors Program—the point person for planning, promoting, and coordinating events for engineering honors students.
She assists faculty in recruiting and maintaining a diverse student body. She analyzes student performance and promotes the program across various campus units. Jeffers works with Courtney Faber, honors lecturer and research assistant professor, to facilitate a service-learning course focused on outreach and community engagement.
“Given my various roles and involvement at UT through the years, I am able to connect students with opportunities and activities, not only through TCE, but with other campus organizations and departments,” she said.
Jeffers has enjoyed a long connection with UT Knoxville. She grew up in nearby Gatlinburg and has lived in Knoxville for many years. She earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees at UT and worked in some of the university’s highest-profile areas along the way.
“During my undergraduate career, I was fortunate enough to work with the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team under the direction of Coach Pat Summitt,” said Jeffers. She experienced tremendous growth, both personally and professionally, during her working time with Coach Summitt.
“Her leadership and compassion for people, particularly students, led me to a career in higher education,” she said. “I hoped that I could one day impact a student’s life like she had mine.”
After graduation, Jeffers held a position as an advisor in the College of Arts & Sciences advising, working alongside colleagues in orientation, advising, career development, and diversity & inclusion.
“My passion for working with students continued to grow through this position and it was during this time that I decided to pursue my Masters in Higher Education,” she said. “I am extremely thankful for these experiences, as they led me to my current role in which I get to continue my dedication to this field.”
Jeffers is an avid sports and music fan, in addition to her passion for Big Orange academics, and loves attending athletic events and concerts. She also recently got married and enjoys traveling, riding bicycles, and trying new restaurants with husband Daniel.