Jessica's Project

A Service Learning Initiative from St. Philip's College

Upcoming Events:

Fall Symposium

Jessica's Project Fall Symposium

Confronting Sickle Cell Anemia

~ 11/18/2021 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM ~
Free and Open to the Public

Register in advance for this webinar Zoom ID:

Zoom Link Pending
(After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar)

Program Pending

For more information contact:
Shelley Kozel at or (210) 486-2429 |

Keynote Speakers


Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Xenex

Dr. Stibich is dedicated to the prevention of infections in many settings. He is the founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Xenex – a company that produces infection control solutions and germ zapping robots. Dr. Stibich holds an MHS and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and is a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He holds over 110 patents on infection control solutions and has received funding from the NIH, Ford Foundation, EU, the Global Fund, to name a few, for infection prevention programs


President/CEO Texas Biomedical Research Institute

Larry S. Schlesinger, MD, President/CEO of Texas Biomedical Research Institute, is an internationally recognized authority in infectious diseases. Prior to Texas, he served in research and educational leadership positions at Ohio State University. Dr. Schlesinger is a practicing scientist whose passion lies in the development of people and programs that will revolutionize healthcare for years to come. Dr. Schlesinger’s research program focuses on tuberculosis and other airborne infections. He is a recent NIH Council member, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Association of American Physicians and American Academy of Microbiology.


St. Philip's College Sr. Coordinator for Disability Services

Maria Botello has served St. Philip’s College for 25 years as Administrative Assistant to the Director of Educational Support Services, Certified Advisor. She is now Sr. Coordinator for Disability Services.  She serves students with disabilities by ensuring equal access and inclusion.  She is also Co-Chair for the Strategies of Behavioral Intervention (SOBI) offering support and resources to students who have been affected by COVID.  Honors: Most Outstanding Phi Theta Kappa Advisor for the Texas Region, Horizon Award for the Texas Region, Distinguished Advisor and Continued Excellence Advisor Internationally for Phi Theta Kappa, NISOD Excellence Award, ATHENA Young Professional Award, President’s Volunteer Service Award.

The Story of Jessica's Project:

In March 2012, Jessica, niece of the Chair of Natural Sciences, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at age 10. A week later, the chairperson was conducting a faculty observation in Dr. Nfor’s Nutrition class and shared the details with his class. Dr. Nfor immediately assigned the groups in the class various tasks to help Jessica and her family understand and cope with this diagnosis. The class researched the disease and made a video to send to Jessica. Jessica responded with a video of her own, asking more questions. At the end of the semester, the class hosted an information session and presented Jessica with two large baskets of Gluten-free foods as well as a buffet of a variety of foods. Jessica said, “Can I eat ALL of those things?”

From that chance beginning ‘Jessica’s Project’ has continued each semester, tackling a specific nutritionally related disease or disorder. The project has grown to include other courses within Natural Sciences, other departments, and several community organizations.

  • To offer instructors and students tools to engage with the community
  • Organize symposium every semester on related subject
  • Provide online tools and resources through our partners to assist educators
  • Train instructors to incorporate civic engagement learning into their course designs.
  • Train students to conduct professional research and present posters during the symposium.
  • Create an academic co-op to foster this model of teaching
  • Teach through Problem-based/Case study analysis of medical conditions
  • Raise Awareness of the highlighted condition
  • Education and Prevention
  • Share Resources
  • Community Involvement
  • Active and Service Learning
  • Application of concepts outside the classroom through research and collaboration

The goals of Jessica’s Project is to strengthen student learning and interest in the sciences, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) by connecting course topics to issues affecting the local community.

Jessica's Project focus: A civic engagement program at St. Philip's College designed to encourage faculty to incorporate civic engagement model into their courses by redesigning old syllabi and curriculum.

This program provides help to faculty and staff through workshops, symposiums, and events organized by our students to inspire others to be vested in the community. Through this program, students, faculty and staff are given the opportunity to give back to the community, students are encourage to utilize their skills to conduct proper research on a specific topic and present a professional poster during the symposium.

Future Plans
  • SPC Jessica’s Project – Project Worth Partnership to expand teenage and unplanned pregnancy prevention campaign
  • Sustained efforts to combat preventable diseases in our community
  • Continue to train students, staff and faculty on urban gardening
  • Building Solar Power for the community garden- Mr. Craig Overmiller and students (Welding Department) and Dr. Saint-Hubbert Michelle- Applied Electrical & Mechanical Technology
  • Scientific textbooks and Laboratory equipment drive: Giving unused books and equipment a second life.
  • Grant writing to seek funding to sustain the projects
  • Provide training to interested institution of higher learning on best practices for civic engagement
  • Present at National conferences and workshops
  • Developing new partnerships with Brackenridge High School (Borrego Carlos) classes
  • Developing new partnerships with Advanced Learning Academy at FOX TECH High School
  • Increased collaboration with disABILITYsa to provide help to the most vulnerable in the community through education and engagement

 Upcoming Projects:

  • Training and Mentoring Projects
  • Pilot study on obesity and other related issues; an intervention on students versus faculty and staff
  • Library Liaison for our research students
Electronic Resources

SPC Poster & Oral Presentation

NCSU Posters >>

This is an excellent site that covers all aspects of a poster presentation from creating a poster to presenting one. It also provides several examples with critiques for each sample. Lastly, it has a quick reference page with helpful tips for delivering a successful poster presentation.

Oral Presentation

KUMC Prep >>

This site is cited by the NIH and is quite useful when designing an oral presentation. It addresses all aspects of a scientific talk from planning and preparing to practicing and presenting. It is brief and easy to follow with helpful tips on how to prepare for the question/answer session.

Document Resources  

Scientific Poster: Tips, Significance, Design, Templates and Presentation >>

This document provides tips and temples for designing a poster presentation. It also discusses the significance of a poster presentation and includes a section that gives advice on how to present successfully.

Oral Presentations: Tips, Significance, Design, Guidelines & Presentation >>

This document provides tips and guidelines for designing an oral presentation. It also discusses the significance of an oral presentation and includes a section that gives advice on how to present successfully.

Student Assignment Tools

Contact Information

Founder and Project Coordinator:
Solomon Nfor, Associate Professor,  LVN, B.S M.S, M.S., Ph.D
Civic Engagement Trainer
Founder PPFA Foundation
MLK Science Bldg (SCI) 206F
Committee Chair:
Shelly Kozel, Faculty - Dept. of Allied Health, Physical Therapy Assistant Program
Civic Engagement Advocate
MLK Center for Health Professions Bldg (CHP) 330H