Recognizing Self-Worth, Achieving Confidence~SC State Senior Graduating with "A New STATE Of Mind"

Friday, May 7, 2010

Jenae“I will forever be grateful of my alma mater,” says business management major Jenae Jackson, who is eagerly awaiting SC State’s graduation on Friday, May 7, 2010. 

Jackson’s gratefulness is a strong sentiment of how the University has prepared her for a future that will not only be vibrant and exciting, but most of all, full of action.


Jackson’s path to SC State University was definitely an interesting one. When selecting a college to attend, she admits that there was one thing she was looking for in particular. “My focus wasn’t initially on getting into any particular school. I just knew I wanted to play basketball.  Because my mother was a single parent of two, though recently re-married, I didn’t want her to pay for my education,” she says. 

Just one year prior to Jackson’s college search, her brother Travance Jackson received a full scholarship to play football at SC State. She had similar dreams, only she wanted to play basketball. Her plans didn’t exactly work out the way she initially wanted them to, but as faith would have it, a second plan quickly spiraled into action. “I asked my grandfather if he would help me pay for school and he said, “I’m not helping you pay for college if you are not going to South Carolina State,” laughed Jackson.

Birthed into a family of many SC State alumni, the Anderson County native admits that she knew she would always attend SC State, and with good reason, according to her family.  Jackson’s maternal grandparents and two of her great uncles graduated from the University, one of which served as a former chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dr. William Clinkscales. Currently, her younger brother, Reggie Brownlee, a sophomore computer science major, also attends SC State. 

“Every since Jenae was younger I wanted her to succeed, and when she walks across that stage it will make me proud to know she’s done just that,” says Jackson’s mom, Sonya Brownlee. “Earning her degree has always been a dream of hers and it’s really nice to see that her hard work has paid off,” she added. 

“My mom and grandparents have really been my support system all four years,” says Jackson. I probably wouldn’t have graduated on time or probably finished if it wasn’t for them because they have inspired to me to do all that I’ve done and even more.”

The inspiration of Jackson’s family has helped her obtain a long list of accomplishments while at SC State.  These accomplishments consist of becoming a member of key organizations and holding several leadership positions to include: vice-president of Education for SC State’s Toastmaster International, 2009 SC State intramural basketball coach, 2010 intramural basketball captain, basketball and softball equipment manager, charter member of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), a member of United Voices of Christ Gospel Choir, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc. Jackson was recently inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma Honorary Business Fraternity, and also received the 2010 “Unsung She-roes” Award for SC State’s Business Department during the First Lady Scholarship Luncheon.

Throughout her four years at SC State, Jackson received the Presidential Scholar Award which recognizes the academic achievements of students who attain a GPA of 3.0 or higher. She was also recently recognized for graduating with the highest GPA (3.38) as basketball equipment manager.

Despite her hectic schedule and a few hardships along the way, Jackson’s success will be confirmed when she receives her hard earned degree on Friday. She does note that the two most important things she will leave her soon to be alma mater with, is an increased level of confidence and “A New STATE of Mind.”

Growing up, Jackson was often told by her peers and supervisors that she had a low confidence level.  She continued to receive those comments while in college. Although she understands that confidence builds with time, Jackson decided to start taking action to build her self-confidence when she arrived at SC State. In addition to her extra-curricular activities, she found that through her challenges, she was able to build her confidence level slowly but surely.

One of the major confidence boosters came through her passion for writing.  In February 2010, Jackson won second place during the student oratorical contest, a component of the Orangeburg Massacre 41st Anniversary week of activities. She presented the poem to the largest audience she’s ever addressed during the second night of the stage play, “Taking a Stand.”

Just five months ago, Jackson’s writing was taken to a new level as she experienced great pain that would thrust her into a life changing experience. “My aunt passed away in December 2009 from multiple sclerosis. I’m very big on death.  I don’t take it very well. I just zone out and start writing.”  The poem Jackson wrote for her aunt’s funeral compelled her to write a book entitled, “Imagination With No Limitations,” a compilation of poems written during the difficult months to follow her aunt’s death. The book also includes other poems written from her freshman to senior year. “I’m dedicating the book to my aunt because she taught me a lot about being creative and unique.  She also taught me that the only person that can be you is you, so you have to embrace the talents God gives you and use them to the betterment of Him,” she says.

Of her book, Jackson wants her readers to think beyond the obvious. “Adults often forget to be young or they only set certain goals that are reachable and attainable. They don’t ever look past what might not ever happen.  I just want people to think outside the box and think outside of what they know they are capable of doing and just branch out.”

Jackson hopes to publish her book by summer 2010 and is currently seeking to enroll in graduate school to pursue her Master of Business Administration Degree.