Learning to Lead

by the College of Education at Illinois  /   Apr 27, 2018

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Like many freshmen, Jessica Weil wasn’t sure what she wanted to study when she came to Illinois.

After hearing about a new major in the College of Education called learning and education studies (LES), Weil knew instantly that’s what she wanted to major in and decided to focus on workplace training and development.

Weil chose her area of study after discovering a newfound passion for working with adults who are committed lifelong learners. 

Relieved to have discovered her academic path, Weil understood that LES was a new major. She was a little uncertain about what her undergraduate studies would be like and ultimately lead to, but she believed in the program, the scholars, and the staff around her.

“I appreciated the energy put forth by those who developed the curriculum, and the passion they had for its success,” she said. “This has been a great program for me, and I would not have had the opportunity to experience the wonderful things I did if I hadn’t tried it. I’ve taken the mindset of trying new things and have applied it to all areas of my life.”

Weil liked that LES gave her the freedom to personalize her academic path and participated in activities outside the classroom to further her knowledge. She studied abroad in Rome, advised incoming students about the LES major, and met with professionals within her future industry.

Weil was also a member of the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority, serving on its executive board and helping connect the chapter to the community in positive ways. She said it was an experience that showed her how focused collaboration can lead to meaningful change.

Weil will begin her career this summer by serving as an assistant director in an internship program that oversees the management of approximately 50 interns in the Chicago area. Last summer she worked at a career development center that focused on helping people find careers they were enthusiastic about.

Weil said she learned how to become a leader at the College of Education. She stayed curious, asked questions along the way, and now feels she has the necessary skills to become a frontrunner in her field.

“I’ve found my passion, and that’s guided me toward an exciting future career. Confidence within myself has given me the courage to try things. I also understand how the unknown can feel overwhelming, and I now look to guide younger students to the best of my ability,” she said.