Degree: Civil engineering
On Ut Prosim: In fall 2018, doctors diagnosed Jessie with testicular cancer. He underwent surgery to remove a tumor and then underwent three cycles of chemotherapy over the course of three months. A swimmer on his high school team, he saw his senior season end before it got started.
“At that point, my childhood was over,” Jessie said. “I was done. And I was just like, 'Alright, well, time to be an adult. Time to make decisions, and fight for your life.'”
Jessie has been cancer free since 2019. But that experience and having watched family members lose their fights against cancer play a big role in his involvement with Relay for Life.
Jessie, who said he has been involved with Relay for Life since middle school, now serves on a committee that organizes the event at Virginia Tech — one of the biggest in the country. He first saw an event at Tech while visiting his sister and said each subsequent Relay for Life event resonates with him.
“Me getting diagnosed and meeting people who are also going through treatments, meeting survivors and knowing those people after I finished treatment, and knowing some of those people who I went through treatment with passed away, it just basically sparked this huge fire underneath me of like I need to get involved in this,” Jessie said. “If I don't accomplish anything at Virginia Tech, I need to have this in my life. So that's transformed into this great thing throughout these four years.”
On how Virginia Tech has impacted him: “Everybody knows that if you want to go and make a difference in the world, you go to Virginia Tech. No matter what you want to do in life, you go to Virginia Tech to make a difference in this world, and I'm extremely proud to call myself a Hokie because of that. … And these events, this service that I do, it's changed my life.”
On the importance of service for Virginia Tech’s future: “It is so forged in the backbone of our university that it's a No. 1 priority going forward. The world will always be in a better place if we help one another, and if we keep going on this trend that we have been going on with this university, then we will keep making changes in the world. I think it's so important, the No. 1 priority, that they maintain that motto, instill it into every single student, and keep that fire going with every student moving forward.”