XASS: Jackson, thanks for joining us today. Let’s start with the basics: where are you from and what do you think you’re gonna major in?
Jackson: I’m from Harrah, Oklahoma. Grew up there my whole life. I probably want to major in Political Science here at Stanford and maybe minor in Native American Studies.
XASS: What an interesting combination! Minoring in Native American studies makes me think you have a Native American heritage that is important to you. Tell us about that.
Jackson: Yes, so I am Native American on my mom’s side. My tribe is Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico. Even though I was raised in Oklahoma I still am connected with my family in New Mexico. Every September 2 is the Acoma feast day. That is basically the annual day that everybody around the world that’s Acoma gathers… a large family gathering I guess is what it is. It is important to me in that I want to serve people, and I want to serve people in my family as well, and I think one way I can do that is through maybe my interest in politics, maybe becoming a lawyer focusing in Native American law. But I don’t know for sure. It’s just something that I’ve thought about.
XASS: That’s super cool! Every time I’ve been to tribal lands they’ve always had distinctive foods. What is a food that you love from your Acoma heritage?
Jackson: I guess it’s probably more from just New Mexico in general, but I love anything with green chili on it. It’s not really a food, but green chili sauce is amazing.
XASS: So you’re from Oklahoma coming out to Stanford and you could have easily chosen to go to either coast. Why come west? What about Stanford drew you?
Jackson: Really what it was is when I went around the country visiting different campuses I wanted to go big or go home. I wanted to either go to an Ivy League or go to Stanford or just go to a local school like Oklahoma State. When I came to Stanford there was definitely a different atmosphere than any other Ivy-League-level school. The people were really nice as opposed to, for example, other schools where I felt like it was a little bit like you come into the collective of the school. When I came to Stanford it was, “Hey, you’re an individual! You are going to be accepted for who you are. You get to think for yourself.” You know if you get accepted here it’s not because you fit into a special preconception or something like that so that’s why I applied to Stanford. But the reason I chose it comes down to this – because I applied early decision I got in early and why bother applying anywhere else when I know Stanford is where I want to go?
XASS: So this is the only college you applied to?
Jackson: Well, this one and Oklahoma State University.
XASS: That’s delightful. So how did you get into Chi Alpha?
Jackson: My parents actually both went to Oklahoma State, and they were a part of the Chi Alpha chapter there. That’s actually where they met and they eventually got married, so you could say I am part of the Chi Alpha lineage I guess. So I was favorably disposed to it. But one way I got connected with Stanford Chi Alpha was through Annika. She pointed me to Chi Alpha when I read one of her Stanford Review articles and called her and said, “Oh, I liked your article” or whatever. I said, “I’m thinking about going to Stanford blah blah blah” and then she pointed me towards the Christian groups on campus. We talked about that, and she described them and said Chi Alpha is the one she attended. So yeah.
XASS: Clearly you were raised in a family with faith was important. Do you have a favorite verse or passage?
Jackson: There’s a passage I constantly go back to and constantly went back to throughout high school. I actually have it written on my class ring here from the United States Senate Page program. The passage that I have written is Luke 12:22 to 34 where Jesus says to His disciples don’t be anxious about what you eat or what you wear. Don’t worry about what tomorrow will bring because God will care for you. But also the last part of the passage talks about where your treasure is there your heart will be also so store up treasures in heaven. That’s my passage that I constantly remind myself of.
XASS: Do you have any nonacademic hobbies or passions?
Jackson: I was a big Oklahoma City Thunder basketball fan for a while, but my biggest hobby right now is writing. I just like writing stories or whatever that I just make up. I think that comes from my brother’s side of creativity – he’s a musical theater guy. He loves that aspect, and so I think we play off of each other. Another thing of mine, everyone in my high school knew I was the go-to guy if you wanted to know anything about Star Wars. In fact, my actual birthday is when the new Star Wars movies came out every year and so, every year, I would take a group of my friends out to go see the new Star Wars movie. That is still a big passion of mine.
XASS: So how do you feel about the way that they wrote Luke in the final movie?
Jackson: I actually saw a leak before the movie came out. It was just the very beginning of the movie and I thought, “That’s interesting what they’re doing.” I think it could have been done in a good way. They could have written Luke off as somebody who became disillusioned or whatever, and I think they could have done it in a good way, but the way they executed it was pretty terrible. I’m not one of those people that just says they ruined Luke entirely, but yeah I don’t think they wrote him very well.
XASS: Are you a Mandalorian fan?
Jackson: *breathes deeply* Okay, that is an even bigger controversy… At first I did like the Mandalorian because it was exploring the Mandalorian culture but then the show just turned into baby Yoda. And I didn’t like that. I know the majority of people, the bigger audience that Disney is trying to reach, does like that, but for me if you’re gonna have a show called the Mandalorian make it be about a Mandalorian.
XASS: Is there anything else that I would ask you about if I knew you better?
Jackson: Oh well, I mentioned earlier that I was a page for the United States Senate. So, I went to high school in Washington, DC for about six months of my junior year and worked on the Senate floor everyday. That was a really cool experience. Another thing was back in high school I was a starting corner on our state championship – or state runner up actually – high school football team. Class A.
XASS: Wow. In Oklahoma that’s a big deal!
Jackson: Yeah, I think it is. *laughs* It was really cool. It was the first time since our school converted from the Christian Schools Football League to the main statewide league with all the public schools that we wound up going to the state championship. It was an amazing experience for me.
XASS: Cool! So final question – and this question was started by a student years ago when they launched this series – Jackson, are you in a relationship?
Jackson: No, not right now.
XASS: And are you content in that situation or are you prospecting?
Jackson: Probably about half and half. Half prospecting but half, like you know, whatever happens happens.
XASS: All right, Jackson thanks so much for your time!