From veterinarian to actress/singer to film director: Laura E. Jackson grew up with a lot of dream jobs. Though her ambitions have evolved, she’s still thinking just as big: “graphic design, web design and writing all rolled into one!” The amalgam of disciplines is fitting: with intensive study and work in digital media, Jackson prepared herself for a career that reflects her extraordinary array of talents and experiences.
A Pittsburgh native, Jackson spent her childhood in Upper St. Clair and had a blast in high school. “I attended a high school that allowed students to study the Japanese language and be a member of the Classic Rock Appreciation club,” she says. “Is that cool or what?”
Jackson did her undergrad at Edinboro, a university with a “thriving art community.” She flourished on the creative campus and found her niche as a Graphic Design major. “I appreciated the camaraderie,” she shares, “especially in the Graphic Design program. Graphic designers are very competitive by nature, but the designers in my graduating class were all friends with each other and with me.”
Her commitment to artistic excellence at Edinboro carried over into her time as a student in Chatham’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. “I chose Chatham for several reasons,” she says. “One, it’s a Pittsburgh school. Two, Chatham is a respected university, and three, I appreciate the flexibility that the Masters of Professional Writing program offers. Also, pursuing the program part-time and completely online allowed me to save money.”
Jackson’s grad school experience was powerful, but she’s realistic in her advice to prospective students. “Graduate school is a big commitment,” she advises. “Make sure you wish to sacrifice your free time and social life for more studying. Do your research!” In addition to figuring out which schools have the program you’d like, she also suggests researching possible career paths post-graduation. “Graduate school is great for either students wishing to specialize in a certain field of study or for students who wish to explore an alternative career path (a.k.a. me!).”
While Jackson got the full excitement of participating in discussions and being active in campus life, the online program gave her the adaptability to fit two incredible internships into her time at Chatham: one in web design at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and the other in communications and media relations at Carnegie Museums of Art & Natural History. “These two internships were instrumental in beginning the career path I plan to pursue,” she says.
On top of her time bonding with dinosaurs and Degas, Jackson holds a full-time job as a Visitor Services Representative at VisitPittsburgh; she’s been doing it for almost the whole duration of graduate school. “Everyone is amicable and the entire staff enjoys their work and loves their city!” Her wonderful colleagues helped to shape the experience into a stellar foundation in her field. “VisitPittsburgh has provided a nurturing environment for me to transition into the professional world,” she says. “I’ve learned so much about the tourism and marketing fields. I’m so grateful for every opportunity VisitPittsburgh has given me!”
While Jackson currently plans to stay in Pittsburgh after graduation, we have to say goodbye to our Grad School Reporter. Throughout last year, Jackson published incredible articles, including a fantastic three-part series on how to get an internship. “My favorite part has been assisting fellow students with internship questions!” she says. “Also, having one of my articles featured on HerCampus.com was a nice accomplishment.”
During Her Campus Chatham’s first year on campus, Jackson brought joy and enthusiasm to every meeting. “I have enjoyed being a part of Her Campus Chatham!” she says. “I’m so impressed and inspired by all of the ladies working on the team.” There’s no doubt that we’re equally inspired by her dedication, kindness, and commitment to excellence.
When asked what she’ll be up to now, Jackson says, “I will be chasing my dreams and moving closer to discovering my authentic self.” No matter what she chooses to do in the future, Jackson will move forward with the kindness, excellence and glow she brought to Her Campus Chatham, and we will always be grateful to know her.