Meet Jessica Koch

November 11th, 2016

The vision of Nextech – to transform K-12 students from technology consumers to the next generation tech pioneers – is only realized through the support of passionate people willing to volunteer their time and talents.

This fall, the Nextech Catapults have benefitted from the personal attention and experience of Jessica Koch, Technical Program Manager at Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Jessica is just one tech enthusiast helping to make the Nextech vision a reality. Keep reading to learn more about Jessica’s recent volunteer efforts to equip students with tools and skills required to earn and keep a job in high-growth career industries through the JA Career Success program.

Nextech: What is the purpose of the JA Career Success program?
Jessica: It is about getting students to think about the next step in their lives, and careers, after high school. It provides activities for students to explore high-growth industries and the skills needed to be hired in those jobs.

Nextech: Why did you decide to lead the sessions for the Nextech Catapults?
Jessica: I wish someone would’ve provided these sessions for me when I was in high school so I could understand what high-growth opportunities were out there for me. It is important to expose students to the options out there; to help them know how to achieve being employed in industries that will be around for awhile and provide a quality salary.

Nextech: Why do you think these topics are important for high school students?
Jessica: To expand their thoughts beyond the rigor of high school, help them think about their futures and give them the spark to work toward an exciting career.

Nextech: What session have students responded to most?
Jessica: Creative thinking and collaboration. They were given materials and challenged to build the tallest structure without any directions. They all had to work together and debate how to build the tallest, sturdiest structure.

Nextech: What do you hope students take away?
Jessica: Insight and inspiration to consider one of the careers we explored in the sessions.

Nextech: What has been your favorite moment so far?
Jessica: I enjoyed the session where the Catapults had to problem solve and use critical thinking to solve a real-world business scenario. They had to figure out a solution for a store that had over ordered product, but could not return it. The Catapults came up with some really creative solutions.

Nextech: Do you have any advice for those who want to mentor youth interested in tech?
Do it! It truly helps kids know there are opportunities out there for them. If it wasn’t for exposure to technology when I was young, I would not be where I am today.

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