Featured Alumni: Jessica Malone ’09

Jessica Malone ’09


Jessica Malone has been a professional photographer for the past eight years, and currently is pursuing her career in Gallipolis, OH where she operates a portrait studio.

Jessica MaloneMalone received her undergrad degree in Communication, with a concentration in Public Relations, from the University of Rio Grande in 2009. She then attended Tiffin University, graduating in 2011 with a Master’s in Humanities, concentrating in English and Art. Also in 2011, Malone gave birth to her son. She came back to Rio to pursue her Master’s in Education/Integrated Arts, and graduated with that degree in 2013.

Recently awarded ‘Best of Show’ at the Huntington Museum of Art’s Biennial Tri-State Artists Association, Malone has also had her work selected from the cover of the annual Women of Appalachia Arts chapbook. Her work has also been published in several magazines throughout the US.

Malone also was just recognized by the Ohio Senate for ‘outstanding achievement in the arts’. She resides in Gallipolis with her boyfriend, their children, and three fur babies.

1.     What made you choose to pursue a college education at Rio Grande?

Family has always been extremely important to me. I chose to attend Rio because it allowed me to receive an education while being able to remain close to my home.

2.     How were you involved on Rio’s campus?

I am a member of Chi Omega Alpha and help several offices during my time as an active including Vice President, Social Chair and PR Chair. While in school, I worked for Admissions and was a Student Ambassador, as well as working for the Alumni Association and marketing call center. I gave tours to potential students and families and help welcome students during the Orientations. I also was a student representative for URG at the state capitol.  After my work at Admissions, I stated working at the Lyne Center where I became a swim instructor.

3.     What did Rio offer you besides an education?

A variety of experiences. But most importantly it offered me the chance to meet people that would become very impactful to my life as well as friends who are still like family.

4.     What are some of your favorite Rio memories?

Being Social Chair for Chi Omega Alpha

5.     Was there any teacher, advisor, coach, etc. that made an impact on your life? How?

Four professors from my undergraduate years really stood out. The first time I met Ellen Brasel, I wanted to grow up to be her. She was strong, confidant, intelligent and an incredible teacher. I remember more from Earl Thomas’s classes than I do from any other classes that I attended. As an adjunct, I would find myself quoting some of the same things that he would say to our classes. Amy Landrum opened up a whole new world for me. For the first time, I met someone who viewed the world like I did. I didn’t realize it fully at the time. I had no idea that I was an artist in the making. Kate Robertson. I stumbled into her Digital Photography course because I needed an elective to graduate. Little did I know how that course would steer my life. She was the first to introduce me to fine art photography and the first to tell me that I could be a photographer.

When I returned to Rio in 2012 to attend the Master’s of Education program I met Dr. Greg Miller and Dr. Steve Cox. I cannot speak highly enough about these two instructors or that program. Dr. Miller changed the way I view education, people and, quite possibly, the world.  I would recommend that all students take one of his classes in their time at Rio.

6.     What did you learn about yourself during college?

I didn’t know how many useful skills I had. While at Rio I had the opportunity to have many different jobs, work under many professionals and learn from so many different people.

7.     Tell us about life after Rio.

Life is wonderful. I still keep in touch with all my favorite professors and the friends I made there.

8.     How did Rio prepare you for your career?

Rio prepared me in ways that I didn’t understand at the time. Now I see that the education I received in the Communication program and the MEd program is something I utilize everyday – even as a photographer! The most valuable skill any employee can have is their ability to communicate with people inside and outside of their field (NACE, 2013). My undergrad years taught me to communicate. My graduate years taught me how to understand people and most importantly, people who were different from me.

9.     Why are you proud to be a Rio Alumna/Alumnus?

I am proud because we are often an overlooked area that can be subject of criticism and stereotype and Rio works hard to change that. I am proud to be proof that you do not need to travel far away from our home to become successful.

10.  Do you have any advice for current students?

Do not think of learning as something that happens for 4 years within the university walls. Do not think you will be granted some magic piece of paper that will change your life. Learning is something that you will do every day. And if you commit yourself to always having that student mindset, to always understand that there is something you do not know and there is room for you to improve, then you will go far. In fact, nothing can stop you.

11.  Is there anything else you would like to add?

“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor” – Aristotle

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