Jess Cruz


Graduation Year – May 2025

Hometown – Lake Hiawatha, NJ

Do you speak any languages other than English? – Yes, Spanish

What is your major(s) and minor(s)? – Major in Interdisciplinary Studies (Studio Art/Psychology) and minors in Leadership Studies and Civic Engagement & Social Justice

What are your educational and/or career goals? How do you see your participation in the Bonner program relating to them? – Art Therapy; I hope to eventually open a non-traditional therapy nonprofit for kids. My experience at my site helps me solidify my goals knowing I enjoy working with kids and in this kind of environment.

What is your service site and service track(s)? – NATASHA House; Hunger & Housing, Youth Development & Education

Other than Bonner and your service site, what organizations are you involved with (on and/or off campus)? – President’s Leadership Program (PLP), Resident Assistant, Center for Student Success

Why did you want to become a Bonner Service Scholar? – To allow myself to explore volunteer work more in college, and get involved with a program from the start to build a base coming in from out of state.

What is your favorite experience that the Bonner Program has given you? Easily the Bonner family I have been introduced to. None of what we do would be possible without each other, and the family aspect of this program is everything to me.

What advice would you give to a new Bonner to help them get the most out of the program? – I would say the best thing you can do is be completely open and honest with yourself and each other and really fall into the trust and personal side of the program and carry that into other aspects of your life. Personal connections with the people around you are the best way to thrive in this program, your service site, and in general life.

What have you learned about yourself from being a Bonner? – I have learned how better to be comfortable being myself and being introspective and reflective to grow the most as a person.

What do you think your role is in creating social change? What do you see yourself doing in the future to further your role? – I think my role is being an active member of the community and a vessel of communication to bring in more and more people to make more and more change. In the future I see this maintaining just being manifested in larger more widespread ways.

What are your hobbies and/or interests (outside of academics and Bonner)? –I spend most of my time reading, making art, bingeing obscene amounts of tv and movies, hanging out with friends, and going for walks.

List your favorite: book, movie, musician/band, food, and quote – Book: Behind Closed Doors/Twisted series; Movie: 10 Things I Hate About You/Captain America: First Avenger; Musician/Band: COIN; Food: chicken nuggets always win; Quote: “You are enough”

Share a fun fact – I am extremely accident prone and have a brace for practically every part of my body.