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Psychology alumna leverages degree to start ‘people-first’ bartending business

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State College of the Liberal Arts alumna Jessica Glick, a 2002 psychology graduate with a double minor in labor relations and dispute management and resolution, has for the last decade been the owner of J. Rose Bartending, which provides services for public and private events. Glick said she feels that her Penn State degree has been essential in creating an authentic, “people-first” business that prioritizes selling meaningful experiences rather than just products.

Back in high school, Glick did not imagine that bartending — let alone owning her own bartending business — would even be in the picture, she said. The difference between now and then? The education and experiences she attained at Penn State.

Glick, from State College, said she didn’t feel a drive to go to college until she realized the numerous opportunities that were available to her at Penn State. She pursued a psychology degree because she had always been interested in the human condition, and this interest, along with an engaging course taught by Susan J. Simkins, professor of psychology, led her to focus on industrial/organizational psychology.

“It was a 100-level intro class, but I was like, ‘Wow, this is really interesting, about workplace dynamics and what motivates people and what makes people happy,’” Glick said. “I will always remember Professor Simkins because she was such a great speaker.”

Glick later became a teaching assistant for Simkins, an experience that allowed her to engage with students about the fundamental ideas of industrial/organizational psychology, and she said she has continued to use these principles in every job she’s had since then, including her eventual bartending business.

“Key principles are used on a daily basis in managing a business — dealing with customers, talking to employees, knowing what motivates people outside of just a higher wage,” Glick said.

After graduation, Glick pursued further education in Toronto, Canada, toward a profession in orthopedics, but ultimately decided against it and came back to State College, which she considers her “home base.” In search of a new job, Glick worked as a bartender in downtown State College, which became “one of the most important environments of my life,” she said. A friend suggested the idea of starting a bartending business, which sparked a light in Glick — business and entrepreneurship, and being her own boss, was her dream.

She and her friend saw the opportunity for starting a bartending business in State College that emphasized reliability, authenticity and a focus on people, which they pursued together. As the business grew, Glick took on more responsibility and eventually became the organization’s sole owner in 2012, changing the name to J. Rose Bartending. Ten years later, the company offers bartending services at public and private events of all sizes, all over Pennsylvania.

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