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Big Bend Community College William C. Bonaudi Library

William C. Bonaudi Library's Down the Research Rabbit Hole | Issue 16 | Jessica Strickland, BEdA Instructor HS+ and Open Door Programs | Living Social

by Rhonda Kitchens on 2021-11-22T20:18:58-08:00 | 0 Comments

Jessica Strickland


You've recently been commended by SBCTC for your curriculum contribution to Guided Pathways. Can you describe your process and approach?


I was commended by John Kerr and Jeff Wagnitz of Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) for my design of our college’s Guided Pathways course, which transitions students from Basic Education for Adults (BEdA) to college-credit bearing courses at Big Bend Community College (BBCC). Both Kerr and Wagnitz would like to use the course I designed as a statewide model for BEdA programs, and possibly nationally. It was a great honor to be recognized. I’ve heard from our students that the course has given them more information about the programs offered at BBCC and has inspired them to take classes at BBCC to pursue their degrees. That makes me happy as that was the goal. Immediately upon arriving at BBCC in 2019, I was asked to create a course that introduced students to college and career readiness, while also focusing on guided pathways. I’m happy that the NAV 101: Guided Pathways course is meeting this expectation so well.


You have lived in so many places. Could you name a few and share how you prepared to live in other cultures?


In 2008, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines. It was my first time being out of North America and it was quite the shock. I later joined Peace Corps Ukraine and lived there for 27 months teaching English to future English teachers. Sadly, the town I once lived in is now under Russian occupation, but I have managed to still keep in touch with some of my students and my former Russian teacher. In 2012, I moved to China to teach children English. While abroad, I also had the opportunity to travel to South Korea, Italy, France, and the UK. Traveling is my passion and one I’ve missed during the pandemic. To prepare for living abroad, I researched and read as much as I could about the country, culture, languages, and people. Regardless, I always managed to be surprised by something. However, what never ceased to surprise me was that I would experience reverse culture shock when I return to the USA. Hearing English and being bombarded with American culture again always leaves me a little dizzy and fatigued for a few days as I adjust to being an American in America again.


Your Tik Tok account just passed 40K followers. First, congratulations. Second, how do you manage the research content for your videos?


Thank you! I joined TikTok as an outlet during the lockdown in 2020. I never expected that so many people from around the world would actually be interested in hearing what I have to say. Social activism became important to me at a young age, but even more so as I lived overseas and saw the human rights violations not only abroad but domestically, as well. My TikTok account focuses on teaching people about social issues around the world. Most of my topics come from current events - my main source is The New York Times. I also rely on The Washington Post and other prominent and reliable newspapers. One of the greatest aspects of social media is the human experience - we get the opportunity to learn how others live. I have learned more about Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color and their experiences than I ever learned from a history book. It reminds me of traveling and living abroad, without leaving my living room. Not only do I get the opportunity to educate others, but I am also a student, and for that I am truly grateful.



Do you have a set of "go to" journals, authors, blogs, databases, or websites you use to keep up to date in your field?  And also - as your field is inherently cross-disciplinary - anything else you use to keep intellectually tuned up?


As an instructor in Basic Education for Adults, I teach multiple subjects ranging from English, Science, History, and Health as students complete their high school education. To stay current, I read newspapers and magazines. Besides the New York Times, I like to read National Geographic, The Smithsonian Magazine, In These Times magazine, Ms. magazine, and Science News. I also watch documentaries to stay current. “Big Picture” with Kal Penn is a favorite documentary series. I just watched “Science Fair” by National Geographic on Disney+. I appreciated learning what innovations these young people have created, and I hope the information I was able to include in a recent lesson helps inspire my own students. 


​What book, poem, or study have you read that engaged you so deeply you were changed?


Reading is essential. I have always been a voracious reader. My favorite contemporary fiction author is Diana Gabaldon. I first read her Outlander series when I was 17-years-old, and it inspired me to want to become a writer myself. I appreciate that Gabaldon can tie in multiple characters and sensations, much like Hemmingway, but also make it engaging and interesting for the reader. I’m very excited that, after waiting seven years, the next book in Gabaldon’s series comes out on Nov. 23rd. I will spend my Thanksgiving break reading, I assure you. 

The poet that I would say had the biggest impact is Ted Kooser. I read his “Abandoned Farmhouse” in my creative writing class in 2004, and I instantly fell in love with his imagery and ability to evoke emotion in a reader. I then had to buy every book he’s ever released. I now read his poetry to my daughter. It was that 2004 creative writing class, and that instructor, that made me realize how much I love writing poetry, which I still do from time to time.


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The William C. Bonaudi
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multiple online resources,
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