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Jesse Parker on Life After PSU

By Grace Dawson
On October 19, 2018


The Society for Scholarly Dialogue hosted alumnus Jesse Parker at the Frost House Commons on the night of Wednesday, October 9th. Students came from various classes in various majors, including Communication and Interdisciplinary Studies, to hear Jesse speak on their career and success after graduating from Plymouth State University. 

Jesse started out with a description of their college experience, including two major changes: first to Communication Studies, then to Interdisciplinary Studies. For anyone who may be undeclared or unsure of a major, Jesse emphasizes that it’s never too late to get on the right path and that success lies in areas of passion. 

They then went on to describe their career in technology startups and how being able to craft their own education through the Interdisciplinary Studies program allowed them to achieve their main goal: freedom. Jesse explained that this meant freedom in their work as well as in their life, which means defining and sticking to goals, being driven by a purpose, establishing a set of values (for both personal living and the workplace), creating an action plan, utilizing resources, and taking ownership. They write, “Take ownership of your journey and practice self-discipline in alignment with your values to make it happen.” 

Jesse’s first step into the world of their dream job was as an intern during their time here at PSU. They fully researched SCVNGR, a now-nonexistent app that allowed people to go on “treks” or scavenger hunts and win prizes. Upon learning more they decided that it aligned with their goals and that they agreed with the company’s mission. This theme of staying true to goals continued throughout Jesse’s career, taking them through LevelUp, a mobile payments app,, an iPad receptionist and business text messaging app, and in the present-day (with as much freedom as they desire) for workflow automation platform Zapier. 

Jesse says that each company they worked taught them a lesson: from SCVNGR, they learned to “[not] just believe in the mission or the brand, exemplify it.” This motto got them the internship position, as well as helping them decide to move on to LevelUp; it was here that they learned that “sometimes the best lessons learned are what not to do.” Because this startup had taken off so quickly, Jesse found that the company’s values no longer aligned with their own, and they made the decision to leave: they emphasize knowing when to leave as an important career lesson. They also state from their experience at that “interviewing the company is just as important as them interviewing you,” meaning that if you find your values different than, or even trampled by, the company’s values, it may be time to look for an option that suits you better. 

Jesse’s story, as well as the advice they offer, can be an inspiration to anyone feeling a little lost in our college careers. After attending Jesse’s presentation, people can easily be inspired to create a set of values for themselves as a starting point for the rest of their lives, including their careers. 

Jesse’s website, along with quotes, infographics, and more information, can be found at

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