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Jeremy Jackson Seizing Opportunity in NKU Bachelor's Degree Program


NKU Integrative Studies student Jeremy Jackson

Jeremy with Kameron Crim, his longtime friend  

Jeremy Jackson is still deciding what he wants to become with just a few months left until he graduates from the Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Studies program at Northern Kentucky University. What he doesn't want to become has been clear for a long time.

"I was in a group home for 2 1/2 years and foster care for another 2 1/2 years," Jackson said. "Just because someone goes through that doesn't define who they can be in the future. I didn't want to become a statistic."

Jackson is focusing on management, leadership and communications in the integrative studies program, which allows students to choose three areas of emphasis unlike a traditional degree program that typically has just one major. The degree program is also available online.

He earned an associate degree from Gateway Community and Technical College before transferring via the Gateway2NKU program. Jackson learned about the BA in Integrative studies program at NKU because his girlfriend, Jamie Draud, was enrolled in the program when they met in 2016.

"I didn't know what I wanted to study for my bachelor's degree program," Jackson said. "She knew the integrative studies program very well and explained it to me. That's how I became interested in the program. It seemed like the most ideal thing for me to study. She graduated last year."

Shaping a bright future is only one part of Jackson's motivation to finish school. One of his best friends since third grade, Kameron Crim, also recently graduated from NKU.

"My friend group is small," he said. "Kameron and I have always been side by side and still are today. We didn't grow up in the best conditions. It was our goal to make something of ourselves and prove everybody wrong."

Meant to Be

Integrative Studies student Jeremy Jackson with his girlfriend

Jeremy and his girlfriend, Jamie Draud, an NKU alumna

Jackson was born in Ohio and moved to northern Kentucky as a child. He played basketball and tennis and ran track and cross-country in high school. He initially started his higher education on an athletic scholarship at Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky.

"I left school and came back home for family reasons," Jackson said. "I wanted to go to a school that I could afford. That's why I chose Gateway Community College for the first two years. I always wanted to go to NKU because it's a bigger university and is more affordable than other schools in the area. It's close to home, too."

Jackson, who works part-time at Target, is laying the groundwork for a career in management.

"I want to go into the business aspect of one of my areas of focus," he said. "I'm not too set on a certain type of management, but I would definitely like to go somewhere with a management type of role."

The knowledge gained from the BA in Integrative Studies curriculum, coupled with communication with managers at work, is paving the way for Jackson to do just that.

"I've been learning a lot about business and talking to my managers," he said. "I've had a few conversations about business and inventory and things of that nature. The coursework has helped a lot with that."

Jackson especially enjoyed an organizational leadership course he took taught by Jeff Girton. When he lands that first job after graduation, he believes that course will continue paying dividends.

"He taught us about real-life problems," Jackson said. "I liked the way he connected that to what we were reading in class. That was my favorite course."

Promise Kept

Jackson looks forward to graduation day in May 2019. He is equally excited about the opportunities he'll have once he completes the bachelor's degree program to apply his knowledge to the real world on a full-time basis and build a strong foundation for a long career.

"I will definitely be there for graduation," he said. "The success rate of people from foster care graduating from college is very low. That motivated me to become better."

The BA in Integrative Studies provides the right situation for Jackson to explore several career options while getting a well-rounded education, which helps keep him interested in school.

"I think this degree will help open doors for me and create opportunities," he said. "Like with anything, take it seriously. Even if you're in a class you're not interested in, you still have to go and be a good student."

Jackson will be the first person in his immediate family to earn a college degree. His pride will surely be off the charts when he strides across the graduation stage to receive his degree. There's no doubt the same goes for his support system, Draud and Crim, who will likely be there cheering him on every step of the way.

"I'm keeping my options open for the future," Jackson said. "The BA in Integrative Studies is a versatile degree. Kameron and I always said that we didn't want to be stereotypical. We wanted to go to college, finish it and be successful."

Jackson is well on his way to beating the odds and completing that trifecta.

Learn more about the NKU online BA in Integrative Studies program.


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