Jessica grew up in Springfield, Illinois and continues to live and work in the capitol city with her teenage daughter. She earned her B.A. in Spanish and History at Millikin University, spending a semester in the Dominican Republic teaching English to middle school girls. Jessica completed the Illinois Legislative Scholars Internship Program as a research intern at the bipartisan Legislative Research Unit, and then joined the Illinois Senate Democratic Staff in 2005, serving in a variety of capacities before becoming the Policy and Budget Analyst for the Education and Pensions committees. She is active in the Parent Teacher Organization at her child's high school and recently began serving as a volunteer income tax preparer at the Center for Economic Progress. As the Government Affairs Director with Stand for Children, Jessica works with parents, legislators and other education stakeholders to advocate for education policy that puts children first and helps close the achievement gap.