Jessica Maposa ’17

Jessica Maposa ’17 knows first-hand the power of the Amherst network. She began connecting with alumni for career advice while still a student. During her first job search after college, Amherst connections kept cropping up. A vice president interviewing Maposa talked at length about his respect for a former colleague of his who was an Amherst alumnus. Once she got the job, Maposa discovered another VP at the company was Mike Addesa ’95. He became instrumental in helping her to develop relationships across the company, which led to opportunities to grow at the company. She has never hesitated to reach out to alumni to learn more about their jobs and has gotten some valuable coaching in the process.

“The College is small, but the network is strong and people care so deeply,” Maposa says. “I get very excited when I’m walking around Boston and see folks with Amherst gear on—I always go out of my way to say hi. If you’re not taking advantage of the network, you’re missing out on a crucial piece of what it means to be an Amherst grad.”

Maposa’s inclination to connect extends beyond people. She currently works in customer success at Synopsys, a company that develops software integrity products and services, supporting a portfolio of clients that includes high-level government and business accounts. She credits Amherst with preparing her—a double major in Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought, and Architectural Studies—to be curious enough and confident enough to work in this innovative and high-stakes space.

“I would not say that I’m technically inclined,” says Maposa, “but I work with highly technical individuals and a highly technical suite of tools.” Her job requires her to translate technical features into business-level problems when she’s talking to executive leadership at a client organization. “Amherst gave me the skills to communicate relatively eloquently and to be able to craft a narrative that non-engineers can connect with.”

Outside of work, Maposa is a CrossFit devotee, a competitive powerlifter, and a champion of democracy. Her impressive energy and commitment to what she cares about took root at the College. “I think I had a pretty magical experience at Amherst. That’s not to say, it was perfect. No college experience is perfect,” she says. “My goal was to take advantage of everything, so I was working in the resource centers, I was in the [Loeb] center all the time, I was on the treks. I was connecting with alumni, and I also got involved in the outside community.” When she joined the Town of Amherst’s Human Rights Commission, Maposa found a way to bring some of what she was learning in the classroom into the community in service of an issue she cares deeply about.

After graduation, Maposa volunteered as an election worker in her hometown of Grafton, Massachusetts. When she moved to Boston in 2018, she signed up to be an election inspector for the City of Boston and, in 2020, became an election clerk. She was asked to serve as election warden for her district in May 2022 when the former warden retired. “Democracy is important to me,” Maposa says. “I want people to have the right to shape their communities in the way they see fit, and voting is one of the tools.”

Busy as she is, Maposa also makes time to volunteer for the College. She currently serves as a co-chair of the Amherst Fund Committee and class agent for the Class of 2017 as well as being a steady Amherst Fund donor. What fuels her dedication? First, her family: “My parents were both immigrants, and I always keep in the back of my mind that they did not have the opportunity to do any of these things. So if I see something that I want to experience or try, I do it.” And, second, is her belief in the value of an Amherst education: “The great thing about being at Amherst is that you are challenged, you are pushed, and you are going to fail, but you’re going to do that in a space where people want to help you succeed and there are the resources to support you, which is not something every undergraduate can claim,” Maposa says.

She also feels strongly about the impact the College can have on future generations. “It’s really important to me that other Amherst students have the financial aid they need, have funding for internships, have high-quality professors,” she says. “I want that for anyone and everyone who can access Amherst, and I feel very strongly about that and always will, which is what drives me to participate. Ultimately, I want Amherst to be here, providing great and different experiences for the folks who come after me.”