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Celebrating the Class of 2013: Thaddis Jackson

Looking forward to being an agent of change

Monday May 06, 2013


Thaddis Jackson, 35, of Gary, is graduating this May with a Master’s of Public Affairs (MPA).

Born in Chicago, Jackson spent his childhood in Gary before attending high school near Boston. After returning back home, he soon enrolled at IU Bloomington and graduated with a history degree in 2000.

Jackson said the time immediately following graduation was “confusing,” with many grads experiencing a tough time finding jobs. He was one of them, he said, and had completed what felt like “a million applications” before getting discouraged and moving away from the area.

“I did a lot of bumming around,” he said, “mostly in New York State.”

Next, Jackson earned a teaching certificate and began teaching Social Studies to high school students in the U.S. Commonwealth of The Northern Mariana Islands, located north of Guam between Hawaii and the Philippines.

But working so far from home was taking a toll on Jackson’s family relationships, so after about four years, he decided to move back to Gary.

Something he had acquired while working abroad, though, was a taste of working on policy in the school where he’d worked. He enjoyed working in the classroom with the students, he said, but he began to crave a career in public service.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to confront realities in the classroom that I thought were challenges or problems in a more constructive way -- trying to support each of the students, not just with learning goals and achievement but also structuring the learning environment as far as the curriculum was concerned,” Jackson said.

Looking into positions where he could do more of this, he discovered an MPA was a necessity.

Now that he has one, Jackson is looking forward to the opportunities the future is sure to bring. He has accepted a fellowship at the City Manager’s Office in Phoenix.

About the Class of 2013: Indiana University Northwest conferred 854 degrees at the 47th Annual Commencement ceremonies on May 9, 2013. The Class of 2013 collectively received 123 associate’s degrees, 606 bachelor’s degrees and 125 master’s degrees. More than a hundred of the graduates have earned their diploma with honors.

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