Jackie Phelesteen’s story


I arrived in the US three years ago in October 2012 accompanying my husband who is pursuing PhD degree in electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). I am on F2 visa which doesn’t allow me to work.

I am a very social, outgoing person so I knew from the very beginning that I couldn’t stay at home. I decided that I eagerly needed to find something to do. I started by meeting Jennifer Recklet Tassi, the program manager of MIT Spouses and Partners (S&P) who invited me to attend the group weekly meetings. I looked for English classes on-campus and joined them. Soon I became a very active member of S&P, volunteered for all kind of events and activities, made lot of friends and became very busy.

Also, when Jennifer knew about my background in Software Development, she offered me a volunteer opportunity to develop a database for S&P. That was an awesome experience for me. I learned new skills and new programming languages. I felt good about it as it kept my mind refreshed.

But on the other side, I was not satisfied with my professional progress. I thought it will not be good for my career to have a gap in my resume especially looking at the long time that my husband has to spend in US doing his PhD. I started applying for jobs online, but every time the recruiters called me, after knowing that I am on F2 visa, they apologized that currently they can’t sponsor a visa. I also contacted friends from my nationality that have lived here for a while, hoping that through networking I can get a sponsorship to change my visa.

I kept on volunteering for social activities and events but that was not enough for me. So I started to think right and looked for volunteering opportunities related to my career beside my regular social activities. I talked to lots of people and finally one friend who has a patent and is trying to build a start-up based on it, asked me to join his team as a volunteer. Currently, I am working with the team, utilizing my knowledge and skills, keeping my resume updated with great experiences and building on my career. I feel satisfied about my career progress while simultaneously filling my life with social and professional experiences and finding the balance between the joy of life and the career.

I believe one day I can find the job of my dreams. While looking for that job, I also keep enjoying my social life surrounded by my friends and family who have been a great support for me.

To all the readers who are in the same boat, all I want to say is believe in yourself, follow your dreams, you are a STRONG person.

Jackie Phelesteen

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