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    In the Spotlight

    Marketing Communication Specialist, Jessica Newell, Joins PMA Architecture

    Jessica Newell is joining PMA Architecture full-time as the firm’s Marketing Communications Specialist. She brings a wealth of knowledge in archival records, historic preservation, videography, and social media marketing. Prior to joining PMA, Jessica was an archivist in Virginia Beach, where she studied and processed historical materials and shared those findings through social media.

    “I’ve always loved history,” says Jessica. “My parents would take us to Colonial Williamsburg a lot when I was growing up… it was like their spiritual home. There was never really a conscious decision; I just assumed in my mind that I would one day study history of some kind.”

    Originally from Long Island, New York, Jessica has lived in North Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, and Indiana. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2016 from the University of Evansville in Indiana, where she studied History. During her undergraduate studies, she interned at the Vanderburgh County Courthouse in Evansville where she was inspired to pursue archival studies in grad school. In 2018, she received her master’s degree in Archival Studies from East Tennessee State University.

    Following grad school, Jessica relocated to Virginia Beach for a nonprofit association where she was the Director of Archives. “My work in social media came from necessity due to the pandemic. During COVID, I was processing and preserving materials in the archive, but all my suppliers shut down and I eventually ran out of boxes and folders, so I had to figure out something to do.”

    She was inspired by English Heritage, a U.K. based charity organization that preserves and maintains historic buildings, monuments, and sites across England, to begin sharing historic archives on social media. “They had a Victorian cooking show series on YouTube where they were sharing recipes from Mrs. Crocombe, a cook at Audley End in the 1800’s,” says Jessica. “It was this wonderful combination of great education and rock-solid historical research that allowed audiences to learn and have fun.”

    During the pandemic, Jessica and her husband, Jared, worked together to create educational and engaging video content for social media about the collections and people documented by the archive. “My husband is a videographer and he helped me to film and create videos. We created a dramatized reenactment, for YouTube, of digitized audio from a 1930’s radio show recording that I had discovered in the archive.”

    The ability to make connections and grow a person’s appreciation for history is one of the things Jessica loves about her job. “I like being able to craft a narrative from the records and historical research to make a connection with people.” She enjoys story telling through publishing creative content online.

    “My love of history has always been tied to buildings and architecture, so the job at PMA is a wonderful combination of my past and what I want my future to be.” Jessica is currently working on familiarizing herself with PMA’s marketing content and strategy and understanding the proposal process of the firm. “I’m excited to settle into my new job at PMA and to learn more about Hilton Village.”

    Jessica and her husband, Jared, recently moved from Virginia Beach to Yorktown, Virginia with their two cats, Binx and Sarafine. Together they enjoy doing historical reenactments at Fort Loudoun State Park in Tennessee. In her free-time, Jessica volunteers in the library at St. Basil the Great Orthodox Church in Hampton, Virginia.

    Jessica Newell sits down for an interview with Sara Moscoso. Photo Credit: Sara Moscoso