student image

Photo by Matt D’Annunzio

Jessica Gerhardt ’11


Hometown: Santa Monica, California

Who I was when I got to Reed: I came here with an open mind and a lot of excitement.

How Reed changed me: I was raised Catholic and my faith has really deepened in the time I’ve been at Reed, which is ironic because our unofficial slogan is “Communism, Atheism, Free Love.” I’ve developed incredible relationships with unique and inquisitive people. I have become someone my friends can confide in and trust. I have confidence in my passions and my future, vulnerability in my heart, and a desire to love and serve others.

Influential book:The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

Favorite spot: The frog on the west lawn. It’s a great place to sit and watch the sunset.

Cool stuff I did: Peer mentor. Ism. Oh For Christ’s Sake. Improv comedy. The Vagina Monologues. Playing ukulele and singing with my band, Just Orange. House adviser. Admission intern. Pool.

Random thoughts: I love that people can be themselves here, like the kid who plays his lyre on the lawn. Walk around campus and you’ll see weathergrams, those little brown pieces of paper hanging from trees with poems on them. You’ll overhear people talking about colonialism and contemporary pop—that’s so Reed. I’ve been so blessed to be able to come here, and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have financial aid. Sophomore through senior year I worked as a house adviser, which covered my room and board. I loved living with freshmen because they kept me rejuvenated—reminding me of the excitement I felt as a freshman about Reed.

Thesis:A Crying (Prejudice) Shame: The Effects of Confronter Gender on Perceptions of Sexism

Adviser: Kathryn Oleson

What it’s about: Research has examined how confronting prejudice may help reduce prejudicial behaviors in the future. What makes someone an effective confronter or ally? My thesis examines the role a confronter’s gender plays in perceptions of sexism.

What it’s really about: Why male allies are important in combating sexism.

What’s next: I’m going to pursue music for a year.

< Previous ReedieNext Reedie >