top of page

From Us in Charcoal: Jess

Meet Jessica Zheng, a returning e-board member, going into her second year as Director of Operations. This is Jess’s last year at Boston University (BU). Despite the position she holds at Charcoal, she spent quite some time questioning her ‘mark on campus’. Simultaneously, her move to the United States from Canada was a brand new start for her. Finding a space to feel comfortable and vulnerable was Jess’s first priority, but it took two years for Charcoal to find her.

"Watching them see themselves in their own stories means the world to me”

Jess’s introduction to the publication is thanks to former Editor-In-Chief, Archelle Thelemaque. “I was looking at every club, just wanting to do something creative,” and Charcoal caught her attention. Archelle motivated her to apply for an e-board position, considering her experience in other administrative positions around BU. While Archelle may have brought Jess into Charcoal, it was Jess’s budding love for the magazine that kept her here.

As Director of Operations, she focuses on event planning, community events and the launch parties for issue releases. “My favorite part has always been seeing the reactions! From the programming, to the decor, and especially once they get to open the print issue. Watching them see themselves in their own stories means the world to me.”

While reminiscing on the flash gala for the issue Nude, Jess recalls how difficult her first year as Director of Operations was, making her pleased to have an incredible team this year. Charcoal helped her realize the strength in vulnerability; learning that it’s okay to lean on people.

“What matters is enjoying everything you do, while breaking boundaries..."

Jess hopes to create spaces where people can understand each other and experience a sense of belonging. Recalling how “one of the most beautiful things about Charcoal is meeting people that make and love this publication”, this year she hopes to express her love and passion for Charcoal by organizing events to help others feel the same way.

Jess can’t imagine her experiences and growth in Boston, without Charcoal, a community that has reassured her that no matter where she may be or go “what matters is enjoying everything you do, while breaking boundaries but most importantly looking good doing it.”

Make sure to come back to read more, From Us in Charcoal.