University of Connecticut graduate student Jessica Weaver hopes to help students like her younger sister as one of the newest members of the Newington Board of Education.
Weaver, a Democrat, graduated from UConn in the spring of 2019 with her undergraduate degree in political science. Now, she’s putting her research in public policy as part of her master’s degree to work on the BOE.
“I have to say, it’s mostly my professors who helped and pushed me,” Weaver said. “My advisor was like my mother.”
Last year, Weaver’s younger sister, a student at Newington High School, had trouble enrolling in some Advanced Placement science classes at the school. When recounting the troubles to her mentor, Weaver said was inspired to run for a seat on the board.
“I had moved back home for graduate school and I was thinking, ‘I have some more time on my hands so this is the perfect time to run,” Weaver said. “[to] help my sister, help my community, and really give back.”
Weaver said UConn has prepared her immensely for her new position.
“Especially in the master’s program I’m in, I feel incredibly qualified,” Weaver said. “It’s all about being able to talk about policy and a productive and critical way.”
In addition to her preparations from UConn, Weaver was an intern at the Office of Early Childhood at the state Capitol and was a Rhodes and Marshall Scholarship winner. Currently, as part of her master’s, Weaver said she is studying K-12 funding and the effectiveness of current educational funding.
Weaver said she hopes to make an impact by continuing STEM initiatives at the upper-grade levels and developing more pre-kindergarten childcare initiatives in the area.
Weaver was one of ten candidates running for a spot on the Newington BOE, from a pool of five Democrats and five Republicans. Of the ten running, nine won seats. Weaver had the sixth most votes, according to the Connecticut Secretary of State election results.
Luke Hajdasz is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.