For our first alumni piece, we chose to feature Joycelyn Jurado, Tappee class of 2002. Aside from Orange Jackets, Joycelyn was involved in Communication Council, Camp Texas, and served as a mentor for both LEAP and a Freshmen Interest Group. One of the first things that Joycelyn revealed during our interview was that her best friends from college were her fellow OJs, and that they remain very much a part of her life to this day.
Through Orange Jackets, Joycelyn volunteered at a school in East Austin, which helped her realize her passion for education and social justice. Joycelyn’s first post-grad job was as a program coordinator at Breakthrough Fort Worth, part of Breakthrough Collaborative, a national non-profit focused on out-of-school time with youth in under-resourced communities. Today, Joycelyn leads community transformation efforts in East Austin as the Director at Southwest Key. She is also the proud mother of an adorable one-year-old.
While many things have changed in her life, Joycelyn's commitment to serving others and love for her fellow OJs have remained constant. Joycelyn told us that the women she befriended in OJs carried a heart for service in their community combined with drive and tenacity to excel. They taught her that being a professional was only one part of the equation. They challenged her to think about how her professional pursuits impacted her whole identity and her relationship with the local community. Joycelyn and her fellow Tappees have seen each other through it all: grad school, first jobs, cross-country moves, loves, losses, successes, failures, marriages, and recently, children. They hold each other accountable, and most importantly, Joycelyn says, “they catch me---oh, how they catch me!—when I feel like I’m falling. They keep me grounded in this world.”
Joycelyn’s advice for current Tappees? “It's not just the project, it's what the project brings out in you, your relationships with each other, and your relationship with the University. Enjoy each and every moment together!”