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Alumni Profile: Jordan Harrison

Have you ever awoken one morning and realized your life was headed in the wrong direction?

It happened to Jordan Harrison at the ripe old age of 21.

That A-Ha Moment
He was still a marketing student at SDSU and had recently embarked on a prestigious internship offered by 3M. “I woke up in a hotel in D.C. two blocks from the White House and I realized that, although I was good at this work, it didn’t give me the same joy I felt when I was working with students,” Harrison recalled.

Instead of accepting one of the many job offers he had received in the corporate world, Harrison took a job he never interviewed for at the San Diego-based non-profit, Reality Changers.

Reality Changers is a program designed to help disadvantaged 8th grade students get the resources they need to become college-ready. This is done through a series of leadership lessons, community service, financial assistance and academic support.

“During my junior year at SDSU, Christopher Yanov, the founder and president of Reality Changers, found me on LinkedIn and asked me to come as a guest speaker one night,” said Harrison. “What I thought was going to be a one-night inspirational talk turned into nearly four years that truly changed my life.”

Several months prior to graduation in 2014, Harrison joined Reality Changers where he was promoted to the director of the College Town program. During his time at the company, he worked with over 2,000 8th through 11 grade students to help them achieve strategies toward a successful college career.

On to Harvard
And while Harrison was enjoying his career at Reality Changers and the impact he was making in the community, a former co-worker suggested that he should apply to Harvard University. “At first I laughed. I never imaged someone from a public state school should consider an Ivy League school,” he said. “I thought ‘those’ types of schools were for someone else, but after thinking about it for two years, I decided to apply.”

Harrison not only was accepted to Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, but he received an Urban Scholars Program award to cover the cost of his tuition and

Jordan Harrison

Jordan Harrison

 health insurance.

According to Harvard’s website, the Urban Scholars Program “is designed to attract and reward exceptional Ed.M. and C.A.S. candidates who have provided evidence demonstrating their strong commitment to the betterment of urban education.” Harrison was one of only 13 students selected to receive this fellowship.

Harrison graduates from Harvard on May 24, 2018, but he’s not sure where his next move will be. “I loved the work I was doing, so I am considering options to continue that work on a regional and national level,” he said. “I currently have a speaking and consulting business with Rhymeswithreason.co which increases students’ literacy using hip-hop lyrics, and as a SDSU business graduate, my entrepreneurial fire is stronger than ever.”

And in 10 years? Harrison has big plans: “I would hope to have two-to-three flourishing speaking and consulting businesses where I could hire people from my community to work. I also expect to be a global champion of change in education through my work and research in finding ways to close the equities gap.  The best part is that the best is yet to come.”