2021 Women of Distinction – Education
Jessica Thrasher – Colorado State University
FORT COLLINS – Education has been the driving force and lifeblood of Jessica Thrasher’s career.
“As a student, I experienced a lot of ‘a-ha! “Moments of transformation that have stimulated me to pursue new ideas or learn more about a certain topic,” she said. “I experienced one of those moments while earning my Masters in International Development Anthropology from Colorado State University. During one of my classes, I suddenly discovered my true passion: water. This moment was the first step in my journey towards a career in the water industry.
As the Education and Outreach Manager for CSU’s Colorado Stormwater Center since last November, Thrasher has educated over 715 community members through certifications, trainings and stormwater courses. She teaches rain barrels and rain gardens and has developed strategies to get the message across to businesses, nonprofits, municipalities and Latin American communities.
Thrasher holds a BA in Sociology of Markets and Culture from Southern Methodist University in Dallas with a minor in Spanish and an MA in Anthropology of International Development – specializing in sustainable watershed management – from CSU .
“As an applied anthropologist, I continually seek ways to achieve community change,” she said. “Before joining the Colorado Stormwater Center, I started my own business, Headwaters Institute, and developed and taught courses on rainwater harvesting after seeing the lack of resources available on this topic. “
She also continues this mission as the Director of Community Engagement at Headwaters Realty. She leads, coordinates and oversees five volunteer projects per year, administers and manages a grant program, expands and cultivates community and corporate collaborations, launched the Northern Colorado Corporate Social Responsibility Group in 2017 and presents on panels on corporate social responsibility.
Its list of certifications includes stormwater control inspection and maintenance, permaculture design, training in irrigation systems for water harvesting and stream restoration, and the well named WET project.
“As I create the content for my courses, my goal is always to give people the tools, the information and the spark they need to make change,” she said. “Another essential part of my work is outreach and partnerships. Partnerships are integral to reaching new audiences and ensuring that diverse communities have access to educational materials.
Thrasher was also the Corporate Volunteer Engagement Manager for United Way of Larimer County from August 2012 to September 2014. She led volunteer project management training, supervised 30-40 volunteer projects per year and has was a corporate consultant for Business Cares for the development of employee volunteer programs. .
“Water is a critical issue in our community and in the world. Education is one of the best ways to inspire people to be part of the solution to our water crisis by letting them know that their actions matter today and for future generations, ”Thrasher wrote. “As an educator, there is nothing better than seeing the ‘a-ha!’ moments. I strive to give my course participants as many opportunities as possible to experience this spark of inspiration, because you never know when an “a-ha!” Moment will change the course of someone’s life and lead to community transformation.