INSTITUTION: Central State University, is a 4,000-student university located in Wilberforce, Ohio. Founded in 1856 as part of Wilberforce University, Central State became independent in 1887, and is Ohio’s only public historically Black university, one of the few HBCUs in the Midwest, and one of 14 institutions in the University System of Ohio.

HOMETOWN: Baltimore

MAJOR: Engineering

Jeremy Jackson always had an interest in science and engineering while growing up with a father who was a civil engineer.

“Ever since I was young, I’ve been building with Thomas the Train and going to camps and everything like that,” Jackson said. “When I was in sixth grade, I was at a computer science camp. It was a basic one, it was only Scratch, but ever since then I wanted to be an engineering major. And I was in between the computer science and the engineering building aspect.”

WHY AN HBCU? He would be a legacy HBCU graduate. Both his parents graduated from Morgan State University in Baltimore, and his brother recently graduated from North Carolina A&T University.

“I have always been interested in going to a HBCU since both my parents have gone to HBCUs and all my family has gone to HBCUs,” Jackson said. “I knew when I was applying to colleges, I was destined to go to an HBCU. I had gotten into a bunch of prestigious institutions like Ohio State. I had gotten into University of Pennsylvania, and Penn State. However, at those schools that I got accepted to, I felt like a number. I just felt like a person instead of a number when I got to Central State.”

EDUCATION-CAREER CONNECTION: At Central State, he distinguished himself from other students by winning a top research award in his freshman year. As an intern with the U.S. Air Force Minority Leaders Research Collaboration program where he uses laser equipment to transform stainless-steel powder into metal, Jackson has been called a “rock star” by his his program director for taking initiative and showing leadership in his work.
“I’m getting a lot of experience working in a professional environment,” he said. “I’m working with people who have doctorate degrees, who have master’s degrees, who have graduated.Through the internship, we’re having to present a weekly literature review to our professor and to our advisor. That’s building my presentation skills and just being able to lead a talk and lead a conversation about a certain topic.”

ON BEING A STRADA SCHOLAR: Central State University Honors College Executive Director Paul Schlag identified Jackson as a pivotal foundation for growing the honors program. Jackson rose to the calling, formed a student-led organization of Central State honors students, and set an agenda for the new student group to make its mark on campus. In understanding what has been asked of him, Jackson said he is ready to accept and exceed the expectations placed upon him.

“Dr. Schlag told me that he wanted me to be the leader of leaders,” Jackson said. “Once he told me that, I already knew what he was looking for. I just needed the platform, and I was able to complete the things I wanted to get accomplished.”