Enos plans to leverage her Harris education to advocate for anti-racist policies.
Headshot of Jordan Enos
Jordan Enos

Jordan Enos was living in Seattle during the summer of 2020. "I could hear 'Black Lives Matter!' echo up from protestors, the thrum of helicopters circling overhead, the explosion of flash bangs, and the deafening rattle of tank treads crawling up the hill outside my bedroom window.  In that moment, I felt the absurdity and injustice of the response to an outcry against Black lives lost—of people being murdered." Enos said she could feel the value of protest while understanding the energy outside her window wasn't sustainable. "That’s when it dawned on me that working in policy would enable me to contribute toward lasting change for the communities and individuals we're protesting for."

Enos said she first began to understand intersectionality and anti-racism while working in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps after graduating from Santa Clara University in 2016 with her degree in finance.

"It was my first job out of college, and I was extremely starry-eyed and naïve. I was working as a case manager in the financial stability department of a small nonprofit in Austin, Texas. One day a client came in to work with me on her monthly budget. She was a single mom, a Black woman, and she had left her $7.25 an hour job to take the sluggish bus across town in the Texas summer heat. In advance of our meeting, I had printed out all these community resources for her and her son—like a free picnic day, library events, music in the park—and I was excited to share all these opportunities. I handed over the packet of resources, and she very graciously told me, ‘I don’t have time or energy for that. I’m trying to keep food in the fridge and keep the lights on.’

"The differences in our realities, and the circumstances that created them, hit me at that moment. I recognized the implications of being a white woman and the privileges I hold because of that. That interaction spurred me to learn about whiteness in the context of structural racism, generational poverty, and the implications of white supremacy culture.”

Enos took that perspective with her from Austin back to her hometown of Seattle, where she began working for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2017. There, she supported strategies relating to advocacy and communications for agriculture, climate, water and sanitation, vaccination programs, and other initiatives that impact public health.

Now an incoming student at Harris, Enos looks forward to joining similar conversations about advocacy through Harris Student Organizations, including OUTPolitik. “Finding community at Harris is important to me. I’m excited to figure out how to build an important part of my identity—being queer—not only as a student, but hopefully in the policy work that I do after graduation. I think, especially as a white queer woman, it’s important for me to recognize that while I have this marginalized identity, I also have privilege that I can use to support others.”

"In 2016 I earned my undergraduate degree in finance—and a healthy federal loan balance. I promised myself I would do whatever I could to avoid being strapped down by loans again. And then I decided to apply for graduate school. I knew that no matter how great the school or how well the program and community fit, the decision would come down to finances. If it was not for the generous PP University Scholarship and support from the Pearson Institute as a Pearson Fellow, I would not be attending the University of Chicago."

Enos also plans to immerse herself in Chicago and all it has to offer. “Chicago has such a rich history of activism and demand for change: I’m excited to learn from community members. Harris is founded on a community of change, and that undercurrent of passion—of knowing that we can do better—is something I’m really excited to dig into.”