Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Jessica DeLeón, UNT

Monday, November 8, 2021

Jessica DeLeon

A former journalist, Jessica has showcased her formidable writing chops in the North Texan, UNT's alumni magazine (and other campus publications), for the last 10 years. Her storytelling takes us into the lives of UNT alumni making an impact in our world, from scientists to screenwriters to musicians and everything in between. A proud graduate of Angelo State University, Jessica broke into journalism with the unlikely help of ... wait for it ... Margaret Thatcher, and it has nothing to do with Jessica's penchant for world travel. And when she's just trying to figure it all out, Jessica dials up this classic remake by Reba McEntire or dips into her favorite book, one so inspirational even Ted Lasso has quoted it.


What is your favorite aspect about your job?
I love interviewing our creative alumni. I’ve gotten to talk to Grammy Award-winning rapper Lecrae, “Soul” co-screenwriter Mike Jones and Jeff Coffin of the Dave Matthews Band.

What employee benefit or activity would you like to see added to UNT World?
I’d love to see volunteer time incorporated, so we can take an hour to donate blood, attend meetings or help mentor someone during the workday. 

What is your proudest work moment?
I came from a small public university in a small town (Angelo State University) and I wanted to work for a major state newspaper. And I landed a position at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram even though other staffers came from bigger colleges and had great connections.

What is your proudest non-work moment?
Being able to travel around the world by myself. I’ve been to London, Paris, Amsterdam. My two favorites are Italy and Spain. That’s me in Florence in the picture.

What is a fact about you that may surprise your work colleagues?
Margaret Thatcher helped me land my first job in journalism. The late British prime minister visited Angelo State University in the 1990s. I included the article when I sent out resumes, and the editor of the Denton Record-Chronicle said he liked the attention to the detail in the story – such as the way she touched her pearls and made eye contact with students – that it got me a position at the paper. 

Book: "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott. It has great advice, and I repeat the title line all the time when things get tough. Even Ted Lasso has quoted it. 
Song:Fancy” by Reba McEntire. Written by Bobbie Gentry, it has a great storyline with attention to detail. Plus, how can you not like this line: “You know I might have been born just plain white trash, but Fancy was my name!”
Charitable cause: Save the Children. I’ve been a sponsor for more than five years.