Program Manager Jessica Roffe Receives UMD 30 Under 30 Recognition
QUEST congratulates our Program Manager Jessica Roffe, who was recently selected as an honoree in the inaugural Terrapin Club 30 Under 30 Program! Established by the University of Maryland Athletics Department and the Terrapin Club, 30 Under 30 recognizes outstanding Maryland young alumni for their professional lives and embodiment of Maryland pride.
Jess was recognized along with the other honorees at the basketball game against Purdue on Tuesday, February 12. The honorees were given tickets to a suite at Xfinity Center where the awards were laid out. Then, they were honored on the court during halftime with their names on the big screen. Jess said, “Being out on the court was really cool. I actually saw QUESTees Michael (Q28) and Akshay (Q27) in the second row of the student section, and I was waving to them.”
Being honored on the basketball court for her commitment to Maryland was full-circle for Jess, who grew up going to Terps basketball games with her family. “I remember they played at Cole Field House when I was little. We would drive into campus, make a right at the M, and then go up the hill behind Stamp. That was the only area of campus I knew, and Maryland’s massive, so it’s funny how that was my vision of Maryland and I still wanted to go here so strongly,” she said. She still frequently goes to games with her dad, who is a season ticket holder.
Jess was nominated for the award by her dad and a few QUEST students. Lindsey Johnson (Q27) heard Jess mention the award in the QUEST Lab and decided to nominate her because of her commitment to the Maryland community. “I think being a UMD alum and working at UMD is a really cool full-circle experience you can have,” Lindsey said. “She’s giving back to the community on a daily basis with the fact that her job is to support students and the community. A lot about QUEST is having our corporate partners and maintaining those relationships and professionalism of the program. For Jess to be the backbone behind that really exemplifies it.”
After graduating from UMD with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Jess got her master’s in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Columbia University. She was inspired to pursue this field by a couple of her Psychology advisors from UMD. “They’re honestly mentors to me, and I wouldn’t have known about higher ed if I hadn’t gotten to know them,” she said. “I feel like I was able to discover my career because I was so involved on campus and so I think that’s why I feel so passionate about helping UMD students find their passions as well.”
Returning to work at UMD in 2014 was exciting for Jess, who had always pictured herself returning to the DC area. “I had this connection to Maryland and the Terps forever so it was always a dream to work back at Maryland,” Jess said. “When I saw the job opening with QUEST, I knew it was such a good fit because it had a little bit of everything within one job.”
Jess considers the highlight of her professional career to be the impact she can have on individual students within QUEST. “A student will come in and ask for interview help. The next week they’ll tell me, ‘Thank you so much! I got the job!’ or ‘I got the internship!’ and it’s really rewarding to see that impact,” Jess said.
The value of Jess’s guidance is greatly appreciated by all QUEST students. “We can go to her and her door is always open, which I think helps promote the community here,” Lindsey said. “She’s always there not just for the specific tasks of her job, but if I need advice on anything. I know a lot of students in the QUEST Program feel this way.”
Helping students throughout their three years in QUEST is the most rewarding aspect of Jess’s job, and her commitment to this is what made her an ideal honoree for 30 Under 30. “In QUEST, I get to see students progress throughout their three years, which is really unique when you think about it as a staff member on this campus. It’s really exciting to see what they achieve after three years and watch them present at the QUEST Conference, get amazing jobs, and be accepted into prestigious graduate schools.”
Congratulations again for being selected for this honor, Jess! Your Maryland pride and enthusiasm to help students is valued by the entire QUEST community!
To learn more about the award and the other nominees, click here.