Jess Bryson’s ded­i­ca­tion to serving her com­mu­nity began long before she arrived at Northeastern.

While a stu­dent at Gorham High School in Maine, she tutored kinder­gart­ners, taught a “reading buddy,” worked on blood drives and coached field hockey and bas­ket­ball for younger girls. “My par­ents encour­aged us to do it,” she said, “and I liked it. I felt like I was making a dif­fer­ence to somebody.”

Now a senior at North­eastern, the com­mu­ni­ca­tions studies major has spent years working with the non­profit Strong Women Strong Girls (SWSG), an after-​​school men­toring pro­gram for girls in grades three, four and five in Boston. SWSG, Bryson said, not only presents the girls with his­tor­ical and cur­rent sto­ries of women in lead­er­ship roles, it requires them to come up with their own com­mu­nity ser­vice projects.

They do things like clean up a park, to make it safe to play in; they like to create murals,” she said. “In the neigh­bor­hood around one com­mu­nity center there was a problem with obe­sity among chil­dren, and the girls cre­ated a healthy-​​eating cookbook.”

Bryson said she became inter­ested when her room­mate picked up an SWSG T-​​shirt at a North­eastern vol­un­teer fair. “I thought it was the most adorable thing ever, so I went to a meeting — and I just stayed.” Three years later, Bryson is director of the North­eastern SWSG pro­gram, coor­di­nating 30 stu­dents working at four Boston schools and two com­mu­nity cen­ters; she also sits on SWSG’s national board of directors.

It can be frus­trating,” said Bryson. “It’s hard for men­tors some­times to con­nect with the girls — as col­lege stu­dents, we’re auto­mat­i­cally priv­i­leged, and the girls we serve are eco­nom­i­cally at risk. … But it’s such an empow­ering pro­gram. It’s tough, but you see the results.”

In her “spare” time, she works as a service-​​learning teaching assis­tant for a class in “con­sul­ta­tion skills,” one of Northeastern’s many service-​​learning courses — that is, courses in which com­mu­nity ser­vice projects help stu­dents under­stand and prac­tice the course con­tent. This class has con­tinued to work with the Jamaica Plain home­less shelter hope­Found since 2004.

After grad­u­a­tion she hopes to work in mar­keting or public rela­tions for non­profit organizations.

A South End res­i­dent, Bryson enjoys Boston. “I love it. It’s vibrant. It’s active. It’s diverse. There’s always stuff to do,” she said. “It’s what I always wanted. I can’t imagine leaving the city now.”