Irish American Jessica Sweeney of the Keller Fay Group

IN FOCUS: JESSICA SWEENEY

Occupation:

Associate research manager at the Keller Fay Group, a word of mouth marketing research and consulting company located in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Tell us about yourself.

“I am a 22-year-old recent college graduate who attended NYU’s Stern School of Business undergraduate school. I am a vegetarian and an animal lover. I love to travel and meet all types of people from different backgrounds. I enjoy experiencing new things, but am a home-body at heart. I also love to drink coffee, collect plants, decorate my home, DIY projects and crafts, going to concerts, New York City, and eating at good restaurants."

What is your Irish background?

“I'm fifth generation Irish. The Sweeneys left Ireland even before the Great Famine. My family left Kilglass, Co. Sligo for Quebec in 1830, and eventually traveled down to Pennsylvania to work on the canals there.”

Have you ever been to Ireland?

“With much regret I have yet to visit Ireland. Although I spent a semester studying in London, I had spent all of my traveling money to visit other countries before I could make it to Ireland. It would be an honor to visit, not just because I love to travel, but also because it is so rich with my family’s own history. Also, the neighbors I used to babysit for moved back to Galway several years ago and I would like to visit them.”

What’s your job like?

“As an associate research manager in market research, I am responsible for using our online database to create reports and presentations that serve leading brands and agencies, like American Express, Kraft, Nintendo, ESPN, CNN, who are looking to capitalize on word of mouth. I am also responsible for general research and client support.”

Any summer vacation planned?

“No summer vacations planned since I just started my job last month. However, I do plan on making plenty of day trips to the Jersey Shore to try and get some color, although Irish skin does not lend itself to easy tanning.”

Tell us about the best summer of your life.

“The best summer of my life was when I spent several weeks living on a deserted beach in Mexico while volunteering at a sea turtle conservation camp. I had signed up for this trip through a global volunteer agency which described the location as ‘basic.’ I was living in a hut and sleeping on a wooden bunk bed that I needed to cover with a mosquito net to protect myself from the crabs that would crawl up the bedposts. Needless to say, I made friends from all over the world who I remain very close with, and witnessed amazing and majestic sea turtles in their natural habitat.”

Interview by April Drew