December grad: Jessica Osgood heads to career job in Nome
by Kathleen McCoy |
Jessica Osgood could be the poster celebrity for UAA's nontraditional students.
She runs two small businesses in Anchorage and works full time for Wells Fargo Bank. This fall, she moved to Nome to become the Wells Fargo manager there while her husband, Charles, continues his UAA education in biochemistry on the G.I. Bill.
Did I mention she's just 25?
I expect you're sitting back in your seat right now, and you should be, because there's more. Jessica graduates from UAA this December with her bachelor's degree in business administration, all accomplished while working full time. Can we please have a round of applause for this hardworking young woman?
I met Jessica by accident. Here in Advancement, we were seeking December graduates to profile as a way of saluting our first graduation in the Alaska Airlines Center this month.
The accident part came when I was glancing through a copy of The Nome Nugget, Nome's weekly community newspaper. Back on page 11, in a column called All Around the Sound, were a few paragraphs on our Jessica. She had a nice smile in the photo, so I read about her. And there, in black and white, was news that she was the new Wells Fargo manager in Nome and would graduate from UAA in December.
I tracked her down through the College of Business and Public Policy and left a voicemail on her cell phone. She called back quickly: "Did someone from this number try to reach me?" You know what they say: No moss grows on a rolling stone. And Jessica is on a career and professional roll.
We traded details-she was in Nome working. But as it turned out, she would be arriving in Anchorage on Tuesday (yesterday) for her last final on Thursday and to get ready for graduation festivities.
And that's how we came to meet on a dark, wintry morning in the Administration-Humanities Building, two days before her last-EVER-final as an undergraduate. (It's in econometrics, it will be tough, wish her luck!)
When I meet achievers, I often ask them if life up to this point has been smooth sailing. And I can just about guarantee you that the answer is always no. That was true in Jessica's case. She's originally from Maine, and started college there. She thought she wanted to be an engineer, but soon found that was the wrong goal for her; end of that path. In the meantime, she spent nearly a decade working retail jobs.
Alaska became the duty station for her husband, so Jessica decided to check out UAA. By this time in her professional and academic life, she realized she needed a career that engaged with people. Business and marketing appealed. Before long, she was fitting in evening and online classes around her day job as a personal banker at Wells Fargo.
While still a student, Jessica continued to climb the professional ladder, moving into supervising tellers as a service manager and eventually working as an assistant manager-great experience for her next step to Nome.
Her entrepreneurial ventures include a turn toward real estate (she owns and rents a duplex and a single family home) and an intermittent chihuahua breeding business.
I asked this successful entrepreneur and career woman what advice she'd share with those coming behind her. She was quick to say, "Do something you love." That will give you the energy to meet the inevitable challenges along the way.
Another tip: Get organized. She admits the path she carved took energy and determination to complete. But the work she has chosen feeds her drive to engage with community and help others succeed.
She speaks highly of Wells Fargo; she chose them for their values and commitment to employees. Her education at UAA and the training Wells Fargo provided were great stepping stones in her career and in her entrepreneurial ventures, she said.
Her five years in Alaska have been fruitful. She even convinced her mother and a brother to join her in Alaska. She considers her step up to manager in Nome as a grand adventure. She lives above the bank right on Front Street in "downtown" Nome. Living there reminds her of her roots, back in the small town in Maine where she grew up. Everybody knows everybody, and there's a great sense of community spirit, she said.
I was curious about her entrepreneurial instincts and Nome. Did she see unmet need there that might translate into a new small business?
She smiled. I could tell she'd had this thought already. "They really don't have a drive-up coffee spot," she said.
Stay tuned, Nome. You might soon be seeing a new drive-through java hut.
Written by Kathleen McCoy, UAA Office of University Advancement