Miranda Jessop is an aspiring historian and lifelong learner. After graduating from Hillcrest in 2014 with a 4.0 and the highest point total of any IB graduate that year while also a student body officer and member of Hillcrest’s Dance Company, Miranda went on to Brigham Young University, where she was again at the top of her class. She served a full-time Spanish-speaking mission and added the language to her academic goals. In April 2020, she graduated from BYU with a Bachelor of Arts in History as well as Spanish, a minor in German, and a 3.99 GPA. She was named Department of History Valedictorian as well as the Honors Department Exceptional Student.
While at BYU, Miranda received multiple scholarships and awards for her academic excellence as well as her research and writing. She currently has four published articles to her name, including one in Spanish and one co-authored with BYU History Department Chair Dr. Brian Cannon. She was also an editor of The Thetean, a scholarly student journal. Additionally, she submitted original, award-winning research at the 2019 Phi Alpha Theta Utah Regional Conference, where she presented her paper “‘Our Daughters are Our Shields’: Autonomy, Agency, and Resistant Self-Direction as Wielded by the Women of the Mongol Empire.”
During her undergraduate years, Miranda took the opportunity to study abroad. In Vienna, she completed German classes, transcribed Holocaust survivor accounts for the Ludwig Boltzmann Instut fur Geschichte und Gesellschaft, and translated for the Volkskundemuseum. Before graduating from BYU, she also attended the University of Cambridge Pembroke-King’s Programme, where she began work on her Honors thesis, “‘Women Thus Educated’: Transnational Influences on Women’s Arguments for Female Education in Seventeenth Century England.” which explores the metaphysics of womanhood as articulated by prominent proto-feminist women who spoke in favor of women’s formal education.
In addition to her studies, Miranda worked to support herself and volunteered in the community. She served as treasurer and then president of BYU’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, a History Honor Society. She organized the “Dead Suffragists’ Debate,” a Faith and Scholarship panel, and department-wide socials while participating in the Student College Council. In addition to working as a research assistant, teaching assistant, and tutor, she volunteered her time teaching free English classes to Spanish speakers, recording personal histories of refugees with My Story Matters, and helping Spanish-speaking high school students earn credit for graduation.
Since graduating, Miranda has worked as a women’s history research consultant for Better Days 2020, where she wrote about influential Indigenous women in Utah history, and an archivist for the History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where her work ranged from acquiring and cataloging oral histories and other donation to authoring and editing publications.
During the last year, Miranda has applied to six graduate schools in the United Kingdom and was accepted into every one, including such prestigious universities as St. Andrews, Edinburgh, and York. This fall she will be attending the University of York in pursuit of a master’s degree in Medieval History, the next stop in the journey to become a professor of history. Her journey and purpose is, in her own words, “to fill the silence with the words, voices, and histories of the overlooked, dismissed, and marginalized.”
People make choices; choices make history.
I choose to study history because I value people as complex human beings and am fascinated by their experiences and the stories they tell about themselves. The more I learn of history and the complexity of life, the more I recognize the value and impact of my own agency. My choices matter, and so do yours.
My years at Hillcrest were full of important choices. it was a formative period of personal and educational exploration, development, and accomplishment that served as a springboard into a meaningful and successful adult life. I am grateful to accept this honor, which serves as a personal reminder of those formative years and all the friends, teachers, and administrators, who helped me become the person I am today.
I firmly believe that my time at Hillcrest set the trajectory of both my formal education and my personal growth and development. My participation in the International Baccalaureate Programme encouraged me to look beyond my own perception and engage with other viewpoints as I developed critical thinking and research skills. My interpersonal experiences with fellow students from various walks of life taught me empathy and the power of connection.