BA Psychology & Sociology, Hunter College, Fall 2019
Jalessa has two sons. Her first born, Pierre Jordan, is two years old. Pierre loves monster trucks, sharks, dinosaurs, planets, puzzles and YouTube. He is very talkative and always on the move. Her eight-month-old son, Preston, has a disorder called polymicrogyria—characterized by abnormal development of the brain before birth.
The brains of people with polymicrogyria develop too many folds and the folds are unusually small. This disorder makes it hard for Preston to swallow, talk, hold his head, grasp objects, sit-up or stand. Even still, Preston found the strength to learn to hold his head and stand on his legs, and to hold objects in his hands. He is a strong, shy, observant baby who loves to smile and try new things.
As a member of the student-parent task force, Jalessa’s focus is on mental health. She wants to encourage mental health awareness amongst student-parents, and to create an online platform through which they can access information about workshops, clubs and programs geared towards improving their wellbeing.
After I she finishes her BA, Jalessa intends to return to Hunter College and complete a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling. Her aim is to work with families in urban settings and to help to improve their lives by connecting them to resources. Jalessa also hopes to raise money to start an organization to help people who want to open business in urban communities.
Fun Fact: Jalessa loves organizing things: it’s a lot of fun for her.