NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – In 2011, Jessica Pryor was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. Whenever she can, the project manager at Tennessee State University seeks out opportunities to raise awareness about the disease and support other young professionals who might be struggling with an on-going medical condition.
Pryor recently landed a spot as one of an elite group of area professionals as a finalist for the 2013 Nashville Emerging Leaders Awards, creating an opportunity that will allow her to speak to others about her own condition and how to overcome obstacles.
The NELA program is designed to recognize Middle Tennessee’s young professionals under the age of 40 for accomplishments in their chosen field, as well as their commitment and contribution to the community. This year, Pryor is one of 74 professionals from around the Nashville area named as a finalist for the award.
“I am certainly honored by being named to the list of finalists,” said Pryor. “When you look at the all the finalists, they embody a lot of outstanding traits of people in our community. I want to show others that life does not have to stop after a diagnosis. Hard work and a positive attitude can transcend illness and allow for a life of professional success and personal happiness.”
Sponsored by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and Young Professionals Nashville, the NELAs honor young professionals in 15 industry classifications who are excelling in their careers and making a difference in the Nashville community.
“We are excited to announce all the finalists for the 2013 NELAs,” said Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ralph Schulz. “These young professionals possess strong leadership skills, and they apply these for the benefit of the community and Nashville’s future prosperity.”
Pryor has been with the University since May, and is the program manager for the Master of Public Health program in the College of Health Sciences. Prior to her position at TSU, she was a program coordinator for grants management and administration at Meharry Medical College. She received her bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College in international studies, and a master’s in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University.
The NELA recognition ceremony will take place Thursday, August 1 at the Lipscomb University’s Collins Alumni Auditorium beginning at 5 p.m. For more information, call the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce at 615.743.3063.
About Tennessee State University
With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university and is a comprehensive, urban, coeducational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912 Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.