The Root 100
The ROOT 100 recognizes emerging and established African-American leaders who are making extraordinary contributions. The ROOT 100 celebrates leadership, creativity, service, and, above all, excellence.
Age27 years old years old
Hometown Jackson, TN
Claim to Fame Executive Director, The Scholarship Academy
Bio Jessica Johnson got through Howard University with the help of more than $200,000 in scholarship money. "People would ask me to help their kids," she said. "Then my mom's friends would call and ask." At age 19, while still an undergrad, Johnson founded Minority Scholarship Quest, a program that helps students of color secure scholarship money. The program boasts a 100 percent college acceptance rate, and her students have earned nearly $3 million in scholarships over the last two years. The 27-year-old native of Jackson, Tennessee now travels all over the country as a scholarship consultant. She says she’s motivated by the scripture James 2:26: “Faith without works is dead.”
Quote As a third generation educator, it seemed only natural that I would be compelled to use my personal scholarship success as a platform to ease some of the panic surrounding the financial aid process and prove to “average” students that finding funding for college is a realistic possibility. The most important lesson that I’ve learned is that faith does not demand details. I constantly remind myself that my purpose dictates my paths. I am keenly aware that there hundreds, even thousands of future doctors, lawyers and politicians that are in desperate need of guidance to not only enroll in school, but to maintain matriculation, and graduate with little to no debt so that they in turn can make positive contributions to our community. Since I cannot afford to get bogged down by the details of this awesome journey, I’ve learned to replace my uncertainties with the excitement of what I know lies ahead.