Growing up in Minnesota, Jackson had an early interest in science, mathematics, and language that led him to study Chemical Engineering and Spanish at the University of Minnesota starting in 2012. He noticed a lack of formal LGBTQ representation in the College of Science and Engineering, so he worked to start the Minnesota chapter of Out in Science Technology Engineering and Math (oSTEM) with strong support from the University. As the founding president, he learned from peers and professors of all identities about their experiences being LGBTQ in science and engineering. Jackson developed an early interest in medicine from volunteering at a hospital and student-run free clinic, working in biomedical research, and taking courses in physiology and biochemistry. Although he thoroughly enjoyed his time as a chemical engineering intern at a corn ethanol plant, Jackson applied and was accepted to the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2016. He will graduate from a five year dual degree MD/MBA program in 2021 and plans to complete a surgical residency with the goal of becoming a practicing surgeon who also works in health care leadership, education, and policy.
What made you consider business school?
I first considered business school after listening to physicians who work on projects that extend beyond their individual practice. I met a dermatologist who worked to pass a law that banned tanning bed use by minors in the state of Minnesota: a law that will prevent more skin cancers than she could in her entire career as a dermatologist. It may have been a decade in the making, but it was a capstone of her career. Other physician leaders who work within hospital administration, academic leadership, and medical industry have a hand in system-wide change which I find very inspiring. I have always enjoyed reading about business, management, human behavior and finance and wanted the formal education to empower me to use that passion to enact change.
What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
My classmates will be the most valuable for my growth in business school. I have met a handful of them already and I'm very impressed! Each comes from different industries and backgrounds and I cannot wait to collaborate with them inside and outside the classroom.
Who are some leaders (in the LGBT community, in business, or in society) that most inspire you?
Norman Borlaug, American Nobel Peace Prize winner and "the man who fed the world," worked tirelessly to integrate new technology and crop varieties to improve yields thereby saving countless people from starvation. His humble beginnings from growing up in a small Iowan town to his education at the University of Minnesota surely helped shape his work ethic. One of my favorite things about him is how he insisted on being out in the fields personally training scientists and farmers while conducting his research in Mexico. In medicine I am constantly inspired by patients and their families, especially parents of children who live with chronic diseases. These families face challenge after challenge but remain steadfast in their love for one another and pursuit of health and happiness. Some even become leaders in advocacy and awareness and help others in the process.
What's one thing everyone should know about you?
I listened to 44 days (1,062 hours) of music on Spotify in 2018 but please feel free to start a conversation with me even if I have my earbuds in.