How One Student Is Building A Career While Getting Her Degree

Jaleesa Jones is one of those students who you look at and think, “How does she do it all?”

As a Communications major at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with two minors, it’s a wonder that she finds time to serve as a campus correspondent for USA Today College, and as the president of her school’s Her Campus chapter.

An aspiring journalist, Jaleesa’s week starts at 8 AM on Sunday mornings. When some students are barely recovering from Saturday night, Jaleesa is submitting her pitch for USA Today College. From there, she works around the clock, writing and interviewing sources for the week’s article.

In addition to her contributions to USA Today College, Jaleesa manages over 40 writers at UNC for Her Campus and curates the editorial calendar for over 18,000 student readers.

But for Jaleesa, all of this experience didn’t come easy. When she first applied to the USA Today College contributor program, she was rejected. Instead of turning away, Jaleesa began freelancing for USA Today and became one of the top three college contributors.

Jaleesa MSNBC

Jaleesa on MSBC with Tamron Hall

“If I just gave up after they first said no, none of this would have happened,” Jaleesa said. “My articles wouldn’t have been shared over 40,000 times or appeared on MSNBC’s NewsNation with Tamron Hall.”

Jaleesa never thought she was going to be a journalist, what she did know was that she was a storyteller. Her passion lies in initiating change. “I started getting involved in social justice,” Jaleesa said. “I wanted to give a voice to the marginalized. That’s what a lot of my work revolves around.”

With a dream to eventually work at USA Today, Jaleesa is definitely on the right track. In the meantime, we look forward to reading all of her amazing work.


Zoë Björnson is a College Outreach Coordinator with about.me. She is a graduate of Tulane University. You can find her on Twitter @kzoeb.