Class of 2021 Senior Profile: Jenna Racca

Class of 2021 senior Jenna Racca smiles in front of a UConn banner.
“Try something new. Get involved in service to others. Learn the bus routes,” says graduating senior Jenna Racca ’21 (ED). (Photo courtesy of Jenna Racca)

Editor’s Note: As Commencement approaches, we are featuring some of our Neag School Class of 2021 graduating seniors over the coming days.


Elementary Education, science concentration


Urban Impact vice president; University Ballet Company treasurer; Jumpstart Corps, team leader; Alternative Breaks team leader; Big Brothers Big Sisters; UConn Future Educators; Encore Dance Team


Neag School of Education Undergraduate Scholarship, Sidney Skolnik Scholarship, Marjory C. Gelfenbien Scholarship


New Fairfield, Connecticut

Why did you choose to study this major/minor?

My parents instilled the value of education in me from a very young age, and it has followed me throughout my life. While pursuing my first semester as a molecular cell biology major here at UConn, I realized I desperately missed the incredible kids I was so used to working with at home. The inherent curiosity, eagerness to learn, and energy found in our children inspires me and fills my heart. Therefore, I chose elementary education and have been extremely motivated by the power that education has to provide equity and justice to our students who need it most.

Who is your favorite professor and/or class? Why?

Doug Kaufman and Grace Player are my favorite professors, and my favorite class I have taken here at UConn were their English Language Arts Methods course. It was inspiring, thought-provoking, collaborative, and invigorating. It relit the flame that burns inside me, longing for equitable education and social justice for all students.

“UConn has shaped me as a person by teaching me perseverance.

What did you accomplish during your college experience that you’re most proud of?

I am most proud of finishing my college experience strong during a global pandemic. It was not an easy feat, and anyone who is graduating or has simply made it through the last year in college should be so incredibly proud of themselves. It has taken an incredible amount of strength, perseverance, compassion, and patience to get here, and we did it.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

After I graduate, I plan to come right back to Storrs to finish out Neag School’s IB/M program and get my master’s degree. I can’t wait to jump into an internship and take some new and challenging courses that will help me to be the best teacher I can be.

How has UConn prepared you for your future career?

UConn has prepared me for my future career as a teacher by giving me countless real-world experiences in the field, both through the Neag School and through extracurriculars. Through Jumpstart, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Community Outreach’s Alternative Breaks, and of course through my three different clinical placements in first-, second-, and third-grade classrooms, I have had exposure to a great variety of educators, teaching styles, and school environments, but have learned the most from the students I have been fortunate enough to serve.

How has UConn shaped you as a person?

UConn has shaped me as a person by teaching me perseverance. UConn has taught me to persevere through homesickness, my mental health struggles, through rigorous and challenging academics, through a worldwide pandemic, and through all of the challenges that come with trying to reopen schools and get students back into classrooms during such an unprecedented time.

If you could summarize your experience at UConn in three words, what would they be?

Full of opportunity.

What advice would you give to a student just starting at UConn?

Try something new. Get involved in service to others. Learn the bus routes.

Do you have anything else interesting you’d like to share?

I would like to give a shout-out to UConn Community Outreach for giving me incredible opportunities to learn, to serve, and to meet some of the most incredible, light-giving people I have been fortunate enough to learn and work alongside. I highly recommend Community Outreach and its broad range of programs and opportunities to every single UConn student.