Soon after graduating from Brazosport High School, Jessica Rollo wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her future. She was seeking a career that would provide a stable income, but was concerned another obstacle might limit her opportunities.
“I knew I wanted to do something where I could get out and get a job, but I also wanted to stay in this community,” Jessica said. “This is my home and it’s where my family is.”
As a result, she took some advice from her mother, Marinell Music, a longtime local industry veteran who works as a procurement agent for BASF.
“In this area, the chemical plants are a huge part of our community and it’s where many of the jobs are,” Marinell said.
With this in mind, Jessica enrolled at Brazosport College with the goal of achieving one of the school’s workforce degrees, which are tailor-made for getting a job with local companies after graduation. In her case, she studied toward an Associate in Industrial and Construction Management.
“I took my first construction management class in 2007 and absolutely loved it,” Jessica said. “My favorite class was the scheduling course. In fact, that’s what I do now.”
Today, with an associate degree from Brazosport College in hand, Jessica is a turnaround scheduler at Dow Chemical Co. in Freeport.
While pursuing her degree, she discovered that Brazosport College was a small community in itself, one in which students often become friends and study partners. In fact, Jessica is still in close contact with some of her classmates.
“I started networking with people in my classes, and many of them are now my co-workers at Dow,” she added.
Graduating with a construction management degree wasn’t Jessica’s only special memory from her time at Brazosport College. She also takes pride in being able to have earned her degree alongside her mother.
“I’ve taken classes on and off for years, just to keep my skills up to pace,” said Marinell, who has worked in the industry for more than 30 years. “I feel like we have to keep up our knowledge of everything that’s going on. So, I decided to go ahead and get my degree.”
As a result, Jessica and Marinell became occasional study partners, with both eventually walking in the 2009 commencement ceremony with identical construction management degrees.
“I encouraged Jessica to get into the program, so she did,” Marinell said. “And she was very successful. I really wasn’t setting out to get a degree, but the timing was perfect for us. It was very special being able to walk together at the commencement.”
For both Marinell and Jessica, deciding on working toward a workforce degree at Brazosport College was the perfect choice — especially considering the career possibilities in the community they live in.
“For both men and women, this is a fantastic degree path and the content of the classes is very well done,” Marinell said. “There’s just so much benefit in it. The more people who can go through the program and get out in the workforce, the better it is for everybody. Now is the time.”
Jessica shares her mom’s sentiments.
“I would encourage anybody with an interest, or someone not sure about what they want to do, to come to the college and take classes in the construction trades department,” Jessica said. “There are so many jobs you can do with this degree. You can do management services, planning, scheduling, the list goes on and on.
“People need to know about all the opportunities that are out there,” Jessica added. “You can make very good money with a two-year degree, and Brazosport College provides that opportunity right here at home.”