Scholar enjoys ‘being an influence’ for students at Walnut Park campus
Scholar enjoys ‘being an influence’ for students at Walnut Park campus
Posted on 01/22/2013
Jessica Harvey at WP

J Harvey headshotThe day begins with math in Sherrie Combs’ fifth-grade class at Confluence Academy-Walnut Park.


On the board is the formula for finding the area of a triangle. To refresh your memory, area equals one-half the base times height. The students work with partners to answer the math problems on dry erase boards. The board must have the formula written out, and students have to show and explain their work when it’s time to answer.


While students are working on their math skills, Jessica Harvey, a junior from Missouri University of Science and Technology, walks around the room to check the work she sees. She guides the students through their questions, and helps them figure out how to get to the right answer.


Harvey is a recipient of the Robert F. Henry Jr. Scholarship, presented by Confluence Charter Schools. She is one of five students at Missouri S&T who received an award in 2012-13. Her scholarship is valued at $4,000. As a requirement, recipients commit to two weeks of working with Confluence students.


For the second year in a row, Harvey chose to work with students at Walnut Park. She is a civil engineering major, and likes working with the younger students in math.


“Once you show them it’s not that hard, it becomes fun and they want to do the math because they get it,” said Harvey.

J Harvey, girls

Diamond Rhusan and Jennifer Webber listen as Jessica Harvey of Missouri S&T explains how to solve a math problem. 

The morning math lesson includes multiplication, division and fractions. Harvey quietly works the room while Combs teaches. In a few days, she’ll be on her way back to college to start a new semester, and the students know it.


“You have to get them to warm up to you first. Then they’ll ask questions when they need help. Now, they call me Ms. Harvey and they’re wondering when my last day is. When I told them I’ll be here for the rest of the week, some of them said, ‘Yes!’”


“I like coming here to help the students. A lot of them don’t know about the importance of education. Being here for them is like being another influence, someone to help them,” Harvey said.


“The scholarship is a reward, but it’s more rewarding to come and help the students.”


At MS&T, Harvey is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. She is on the Diversity Leadership Council and is a student representative on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee for African American Recruitment and Retention.


She graduated from Hazelwood Central High School and North County Technical School in 2010. While at North County Tech, she was in the carpentry program.


She enjoys carpentry, but said “I didn’t want to do hard labor for the rest of my life.”


“As a civil engineer, I can still do construction but from the management side,” said Harvey. “I like the construction aspect of civil engineering. I want to expand my knowledge and use my skills in math and science.”


For girls who are interested in math and science, Harvey shared some advice.


“I would tell girls not to let the guy-to-girl ratio in the science and engineering field discourage you from doing what you love.


“The best advice I’ve been given is never give up, it’s going to get rough but you have to move forward,” she said.


And her advice for applying for the Henry scholarship and other awards? She says to “do it because the reward goes way beyond just the financial benefit. Tutoring at the Confluence schools really allows you to make a difference in a lot of young student’s lives, and you could be the influence they need.”

J Harvey, boys

 Jessica Harvey, a student at Missouri S&T, checks out the work of Jalen Simpson (left) and Antonio Weathersby. 

Harvey’s dream job is to become a project manager for a major construction company. She is interviewing for internships and other summer opportunities.