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Jessina Baker: It all Began at Cristo Rey Boston

“I am continually evolving, redefining myself at every stage of my journey," noted Jessina Baker. Currently a senior at Denison University, Jessina is making plans for her future and taking stock of where her journey has led thus far.

“It all began at Cristo Rey Boston,” she recalled. “My parents did not have it easy, but they pushed hard for me to have different options. Cristo Rey Boston was part of their plan, and I know I was privileged to attend. At Cristo Rey, I began to strive for something bigger than myself, to become aware that I was carrying the hope and goals of my community, and to challenge myself to push outside of my comfort zone.”

That opportunity came when Jessina was selected as a Posse Scholar during her senior year at Cristo Rey and offered a full scholarship to attend Denison University. She recalled being nervous about attending an institution so far from home but knew it was the best option financially. She noted, “I was committed to pushing outside my comfort zone, even if it meant attending a college that was a prominently white and male-dominated university.”

Jessina continued, “My experience with the Corporate Work Study program allowed me to be ready for college. I was ready to speak my truth and interact with a student body that mostly did not reflect my upbringing. Despite the challenges, I quickly settled into the community and began to learn who I was. My goal is to become a strong, powerful, intellectual female and Cristo Rey Boston set me on that path.”

“Denison University has afforded me many opportunities to grow. I am a tutor for America Reads and a big sister in the Big Brother Big Sister of America program. I have worked with Education First, helping high school exchange students from Europe. All these experiences have combined to help me grow and define my goals,” Jessina noted.

Looking ahead, Jessina is looking for work with a commercial real estate company, with the eventual goal of attending law school and working in the field of real estate law. Ultimately, she hopes to work in affordable housing, where her education, life experiences, and training as a lawyer can come together. Her time in the CWS (Corporate Work Study) program has prepared her for this moment, and she is already reaching out to her Cristo Rey network in anticipation of graduation. She stated, “I have big dreams for myself, and thanks to Cristo Rey Boston and the foundation they helped me build in high school, I have confidence I can attain my goals."