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Inside DELTA: 5 Questions with Jessica White

White standing between her brothers, Michael (to her left) and Marcus (to her right) at a family event.
White with her brothers, Michael (to her left) and Marcus (to her right) at a family event.

For this Inside DELTA piece, we interviewed Jessica White, a senior instructional designer, who has worked for DELTA for six years.

White’s position with DELTA is unique in that she splits her time between two departments — DELTA and the Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences (FBNS) within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). 

“In DELTA, I am part of the Instructional Design and Development team,” White said. “I focus on DELTA Grants work and assist faculty with Course Design and Exploratory grant projects. In FBNS, I am the designated departmental instructional designer. I have two part-time instructional designers who assist me with different department projects for both academic (for-credit) and outreach (non-credit) needs.”

We recently asked White questions to learn more about her, her dual roles at NC State and her interests outside of work.

What is your background?

White holds an Ed.S. in Instructional Design and Technology and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership.

Before joining DELTA, White taught at a private college in Greensboro, North Carolina. She also worked for a non-profit organization in Dallas, Texas, and as an instructional design government contractor in Washington, DC. In her prior roles, she developed a multitude of courses, taught adults a variety of business-related topics and designed training programs. 

“I grew up in both San Antonio and a small city in southern Mississippi. I had jobs in other cities before moving to Raleigh to take my position with DELTA at NC State,” White said. “People might not know that I am a military brat. I consider North Carolina ‘home’ even though I’m not a native. Although I wasn’t born and raised here, my dad was. His family is here, and we all spend a lot of time together.”

Jessica White (on right) standing with her father, Ken White, in outside in a family photo from Christmas in 2018.
White (on the right) with her father, Ken White, in a family photo from Christmas in 2018.

How would you describe your role at DELTA?

Working a split schedule between two departments means that White needs to juggle numerous responsibilities because her roles within each group vary as does her work.

“Most of my day-to-day work is project and relationship management,” White said. “I pride myself on my ability to establish and maintain relationships with my faculty and colleagues in both departments and across campus. On my DELTA projects, I typically serve as project and instructional design lead, which means I manage the project itself, and I work with the faculty member to ensure we design instructional items to meet the instructional challenges presented in the course.”

White creates detailed project schedules to ensure that the projects she manages are completed either before or on time every year so they don’t run over and to ensure that project responsibilities are delegated properly.

What is your favorite experience at DELTA?

White recounts an experience during her first two years with DELTA as one of her favorite projects.

“My first year with DELTA, a faculty member and I worked to create a project management course for the Training and Development master’s program in the College of Education,” White explained. “In the second year, we mapped all the program courses to the Association for Talent Development (ATD) Competency Model (now known as the Capability Model). Working with Moodle Competencies, revising each program course and helping the current students understand what they were learning in each course so they could articulate it in interviews extended my knowledge with competency-based learning and helped grow the Training and Development program.”

White has also enjoyed the diversity of projects provided by working with FBNS.“I’m really enjoying the project I’m working on now with FBNS,” White said. “In 2021, a group of faculty from six different universities applied for a highly competitive United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Higher Education Challenge Grant (NIFA HEC) grant. Only 12% of applications are funded each year, so we were excited to be chosen! We’ve worked for the last two years to create a food product development curriculum to be used in food science programs. Working with 10 different subject matter experts has its challenges at times, but working to develop learning content, activities and assessments for students that their instructors can use is what makes it rewarding.”

Jessica White standing with NC State colleagues in a crowded basketball stadium
White with two of her FBNS colleagues: Judy Cooper, who is now retired from NC State (standing in the middle), and Natalie Cooke, Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Programs for Nutrition Science.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Whatever projects she finds herself working on, White understands that working with faculty and establishing relationships is a key component of her job.

“In DELTA, working with faculty across campus is what makes my job special,” White said. “One year I might work with faculty in the College of Education; the next year I might work with an accounting professor. I learned a lot the year I worked with a landscape architecture faculty member. Every project is different; every year I learn something new. As a part-time faculty member myself, I enjoy learning from other faculty members as we all use technology differently and incorporate different instructional methodologies. Most importantly, relationship building in the work I do is what makes the ‘world go around.’ Without relationships and rapport, faculty don’t believe in what I do or say. They need to believe that the technology I suggest will assist them and their students in making better outcomes.”

What do you like to do in your spare time?

When not working, White likes to spend time traveling and with her family.

“I LOVE to travel,” White said. “Exploring new places and trying new food is one way I like to relax. I like seeing the world and experiencing how others live. I also love to cook and bake, which allows me to try different recipes and food styles. I’m very family-oriented, so if I’m not by myself, I can be found with my dad, brothers, cousins, aunts, or family friends.”

Jessica White with her aunt, Evelyn Fluellen, standing outside in a garden in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in a 2022 visit celebrating White's birthday.
White with her aunt, Evelyn Fluellen, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 2022 visit to celebrate White’s birthday.

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