Amber Jackson is more than a Texas State student. She is a resident assistant, speech and debate participant, Harambee dance leader, step group “stepmaster” and University Honors employee.
Jackson, English senior, came to Texas State for the university’s speech team and School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
“When I first came to Texas State it was a culture shock,” Jackson said. “I went to high school with a lot of blacks and Hispanics.”
It did not take long for Jackson to find a place to get involved.
“Everyone can feel like they have a place at this university,” Jackson said.
Jackson first became involved with the Harambee dance and step group. As a stepmaster, Jackson is responsible for creating the dances and beats the group performs.
“It takes you out of your every day school work,” Jackson said. “A lot of us have met our best friends in this organization.”
Jackson works as the student coordinator for the University Honors program.
“I work with University Honors because of the professors,” Jackson said. “They are incredible.”
Jackson has had the opportunity to meet David Pink, Andrew Young and Erin Brokovich because of her job.
Jackson graduates in May and is looking to study Sierra Leone and the “blood diamond” market for her honors thesis.
“I’m focusing on effects the hip-hop community has (by wearing the diamonds) and how it demoralizes its own community,” Jackson said.
Jackson recently performed in the Poetry Slam at Texas State.
“It’s really sick,” Jackson said. “It took us a year and a half to put together.”
Jackson combined YouTube videos with a documentary to create a speech form called, “Duo Interpretation.” Her performance took first place at Hell Froze Over, a competition at the University of Texas -- Austin.
“It’s incredible,” Jackson said. “It relates very closely to my thesis.”
Jackson works as a resident assistant in Arnold Hall and has found how to play the role for different situations.
“I’ve learned how to ‘put on’,” Jackson said. “You’re balancing being a person, being a friend, being an RA, having a personal life and on top of all those things being a student.”
Jackson said one thing she enjoyed in her college experience was a summer abroad in Costa Rica.
“It was the experience of a lifetime,” Jackson said. “When I came back home it was shocking.”
Jackson plans to teach while she prepares for law school after graduation.
“I want to work closely with foster care,” Jackson said.
Jackson’s passion for teaching was inspired by a previous job at a children’s center.
“We dealt with children at the bottom of the heap,” Jackson said. “I’d see Child Protective Services come pick up children and I’d see parents come in and hit the floor.”
Working with children who have single parents is something Jackson can relate to.
“I come from a single parent-based home,” said Jackson, “My sperm donor is no longer in my life.”
Jackson said she hopes to eventually open a foster home.
“I know there are things I’ve missed out on,” Jackson said. “We pick up necessary tools from our parents. I’ll put on programs to prepare (the foster children) for real life. I want to create a loving environment and help them be beneficial to today’s society.”