Meet Our Student: Jessica Radomski

Jessica is a graduate from the College of Architecture and the Built Environment’s bachelor architecture program, and current pursuing her graduate degree in historic preservation.

Where are you from originally?

Lacey Township, NJ.

Why did you choose Jefferson?

I went to Jefferson for my bachelor of architecture and chose it because of its historic preservation minor back in 2017. I absolutely fell in love with the campus and the close-knit feeling of the architecture and preservation programs. It ended up working out that the MS in historic preservation degree was established shortly after!

Tell us about your Historic Preservation internships. What have you learned?

My first internship was with the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. One of my roles was helping the easement coordinator with easement inspections of many buildings across the city, which included documenting any current conditions or problems visible from the street and taking photographs of the conditions to assist the coordinator in writing annual reports for the building owners. This gave me great experience in assessing buildings quickly and being able to annotate them clearly in words. I also attended Philadelphia Historic Commission meetings as part of the internship, which allowed me to become more familiar with the process of making changes to a historic building.

My second internship, which I am currently at, began in the summer of 2021 at Connolly & Hickey Historical Architects. This internship has been invaluable in learning the process of a historic project, from documentation of the building to putting the project out to bid. My responsibilities at this firm have included measuring and documenting buildings, aiding in writing preservation plans (historical overviews of a building, architectural descriptions, conditions assessments, and materials recommendations), and design development of multiple projects. I hope to become more involved in the bidding and construction administration side of projects soon!

What else are you working on?

I am currently working on finishing a children’s chapter book (think Magic Treehouse level) that aims to teach children about the importance of old buildings by using Richard Neutra’s Hassrick House right on our campus as a case study. The story is of a brother and sister who travel through and interact with past inhabitants of the Hassrick House and the memories that have been made in the house over time. The main characters grow attached to the house and their new friends along the way and ultimately move into the house with their grandfather to preserve the existing memories in the house and to make new ones!

Aside from the extensive research that myself and others had done on the Hassrick House, I also wanted to use it to advocate for the preservation of Mid-Century modern and other Modernist architecture, which are just starting to be part of the historic preservation conversation and deserve the same amount of love as any other style!

What is the best part of your studies?

Though it hasn’t happened yet, I already know the best part of my studies in the historic preservation program will be studying abroad at Anhalt University in Dessau, Germany this coming spring/summer. Dessau is home to the Bauhaus school, which is the birthplace of Modernism, so there is no better place to study it than there! I hope that studying Modernism outside of the U.S. will inspire an interesting and unique thesis topic for my final two semesters at Jefferson. I have always had an interest in learning about how approaches to historic preservation in other countries differ from those in the U.S. and hope to incorporate some of the European philosophy in the rest of my studies and future career. I will be the first student taking this study abroad opportunity and am very excited for the new experience!

What’s something people would be surprised to find out about you?

I was on an underwater robotics team all through high school and won second and fourth place at two national competitions!