Jessica Lopa, Founder and “Dean” of Mommy University
Jessica is also a full-time school psychologist, wife to an amazing husband and mother to 2 incredible boys. She attended the University of Rhode Island to obtain an undergraduate degree in Psychology, and Fairleigh Dickinson University for her Master’s plus Certification in School Psychology.
Jessica’s work experience includes just about everything from coaching gymnastics to being a summer camp counselor to even selling tickets for the Big Apple Circus, and what she learned through each experience made her the person she is today. She has had 2 careers thus far that have helped lead her to where she is now. Jessica was an Associate Director of an Arts and Humanities department at a YMCA for over 4 years which included coaching gymnastics and teaching dance to ages 2.5 through adult as well as founding and coaching a competitive dance team. She has also been a school psychologist for over 10 years in the public school system gaining experience working with special needs students ages 2.5 to 21. Jessica also recently added assistant Tball coach to her list of experiences along with soccer mom and Cub Scout mom.
Every day Jessica is looking for new and fun ways to encourage growth and development in her children. She also continuously looks for exciting and low-cost activities for her kids to enjoy. Travel is a very big part of Jessica’s family life as well as she frequently enjoys visiting Disney World, Hersheypark and other fun and educational family destinations. She is so thrilled to be able to bring these interests together to create Mommy University!
Monica Atkins, Assistant Editor
Born into a family of educators, Monica attempted to avoid this path as she worked in corporate America. However, after five years, she realized she was not passionate about office work. Her undergraduate major in Anthropology and Puerto Rican/Hispanic Caribbean Studies from Rutgers University allowed her to pursue a Master’s in Counseling from Montclair State University. Luckily, she was supported in her career change by her husband.
They feel blessed to have their two children, a boy and a girl, who keep reminding them that you are never fully prepared in life and that there is beauty in the smallest things. She has prior educational experience by working in an out of district school for children classified as Emotionally Disturbed and has worked as a High School Counselor for seven years. Every day there is something she learns from her family, colleagues and children which reinforces that her current field is her passion.
Melissa Murray, Writer
Melissa is a full time high school mathematics teacher and has worked in her district for seven years. She completed her undergraduate degree in Secondary Education and Mathematics from Centenary College. She continued her education at Centenary College where she earned a Masters degree in Instructional Leadership and is working towards her Masters degree in Special Education. She holds certificates in teaching K-12 Mathematics, Supervision and Special Education. Throughout her teaching career she has taught a variety of courses including special education, honors level and college level through Rutgers University. She embraced the different levels of teaching and does her best to benefit all of the students in each of her classes.
Melissa is a true Disney Fan along with her husband. Their first child was born in August 2015 and this handsome boy is bringing new joy to their lives. They have fur babies which include two dogs, a cat and backyard chickens. Along with several yearly trips to Disney World, her family also enjoys camping in National Parks and traveling all over the US. Melissa is excited to introduce her favorite things to her child and hopes he or she will love the outdoors as much as she does.