Jessica Bonner, a native of Bessemer and Midfield, AL, is a huge advocate for quality education. Her mother had always encouraged Jessica to do her best in school, telling Jessica that her hard work at the present would pay off throughout life. However, Jessica never really understood the importance of education until she’d taken classes that ranged in quality at Midfield High School. When she had teachers who were passionate about what they taught, Jessica found learning to be fun and desired to gain more knowledge. Interestingly, she found herself enjoying math and science courses when those subjects were of no interest to her prior to high school.
Particular teachers’ excitement for their subjects had rubbed off on her. On the other hand, there were classes where passion was nowhere to be found, and the students did not obtain what they’d needed. Ultimately, despite the good education and great parental support she received, Jessica’s awareness of the gaps in other areas of her high school education contributed to her lack of confidence in her academic ability upon starting college at Samford University in 2005.
The mixed high school experience was good, Jessica later realized, as she better understood the concept of quality education and therefore decided in college that she would become an educator who always gave her all and nothing less. Helping her to gain confidence and grow closer to her goal were God, family, college instructors, and her church family (especially the youth department).
After graduating from Samford in 2010 with a dual-major BA in English and Communication Studies, Jessica started a master’s program in English at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). This program allowed her to teach freshman English composition courses through an assistantship, and upon graduating with her MA in 2013, she taught freshman English courses at both UAB and Samford for a year. Giving her all meant late nights re-reviewing lesson materials for the next day’s class and grading assignments such that no student lacked helpful feedback.
By this time in her life, Jessica had picked up tutoring. While she attended Samford she gained the opportunity to aid student athletes with preparing essays and speeches. It was here where her love for promoting quality education through tutoring took off. She developed her tutoring skills even further during her graduate program at UAB, where she tutored in the university’s writing center in addition to teaching freshman English composition courses. When it came down to teaching and tutoring, Jessica noticed that she had a knack for tutoring, as her impact on students seemed stronger in a one-to-one setting versus a classroom setting.
For Other Prizes Consulting would only come to exist after some coaxing from Jessica’s younger sister and after she’d pulled off one of her biggest feats. Specifically, in 2015 she’d helped a UAB engineering doctoral student edit his dissertation. For her, the feat was great because she had no knowledge of engineering and because the student’s spoken and written English wasn't fluent, given that English wasn’t his native language.
Working closely with the student, however, Jessica was able to assist him in presenting his brilliant ideas in a clear, effective, and polished dissertation. Receiving news from the student that the over hundred-page dissertation had been approved by the university brought her much joy. It felt wonderful to be a part of someone’s achievement, and her desire to help others perform at their best grew.
Keeping in mind that she herself needed support as she worked toward her best, Jessica’s goal (through her business and as a pediatric speech-language pathologist) will always be to see others through doing the same.