Jessica Hernandez ’17

Riverside, CA
Johnston Center for Integrative Studies

A May Term class helped Jessica Hernandez ’17 figure out that her dream job would be the curator of a prestigious museum.


While taking the Civil Rights Movement ’54–’65 class, she realized that learning about history through personal experience was much more powerful than reading about it. During the term, Hernandez, her classmates and her professor toured the American South visiting scenes of major milestones in the struggle for civil rights. “There were so many smaller events that were turning points in the movement that I’d never heard of,” she says. “I really benefitted because it’s so important to understand the past so we can make the future better.”

Making the future brighter for the next generation is something of a Hernandez family tradition. That’s why her parents immigrated—her father from Mexico and her mother from El Salvador. “They worked so hard their entire lives, so they wanted us to have better opportunities,” she says.

It’s that type of opportunity that Hernandez found at the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies. She was about to enroll in another university when she learned about how she could craft her own education at the Johnston Center. Then she learned that she could receive significant financial assistance. “Financial aid was a big factor in my coming to Redlands,” she says.

Her emphasis is “Historical, Visual and Cultural Interpretations of Modern War,” and she’s planning to do a capstone project on the Cold War.