By Cindy Zomar, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Jessica Purdy recently reached out to her alma mater, Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, to set up a scholarship for a graduating senior. In and of itself, that is not a complete anomaly as alumni often remember their roots when they reach some level of success, but Purdy has only been out of high school since 2010.
“I am in such a good place in my life right now, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t chosen to go to Assabet,” she explained, adding that her parents, Jay Purdy and Dianne Nix Drummey, are also alumni.
She has offered a $1,000 needs-based scholarship for an Assabet student going into art or graphic design.
“I worked really, really hard to get to this point,” she said. “I had to overcome so much, and a way of paying it forward is to give a gift of help to others who need it.”
Her interests were in art and biology, and she loved the technical side of computers, saying she had an affinity for it.
“I was in Design and Visual Communications, but I spent a lot of time with the Computer Information Technology instructors, too. I remember graduating in the top 15 students in my class and filling out a ton of scholarship forms. Without that help, I wouldn’t even have been able to afford the books and supplies I needed for college.”
At Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, she lived in the dorms. She admits that most of the students she encountered had planned an art degree all along, taking many high school art courses and Advanced Placement art courses.
“Where I excelled at college … was in my technical skills. Thanks to Assabet, I had film, video, design, Photoshop, the whole Adobe Creative Suite, and I had to let college bring out the pure artistic side of me,” she recalled.
Purdy graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2015.
After college, Purdy spent some time traveling, and had a variety of small jobs. As a private contractor, she worked with a software company helping with user interface on big data, which led to her current position at BJ’s corporate offices.
“I found my niche at BJ’s in 2018, putting tech and graphics together. My title is ‘User Experience Designer.’ I make a good living and I still design logos for friends and family,” she said.
Purdy said she helps with art reviews at Massachusetts College of Art and Design and is on the Advisory Board at Assabet.
When giving advice to current high school students, she said: “Always take care of your future self…prepare for what might be coming. And fail fast, because the quicker you fail at something, the sooner you can learn what you need to do.”