Assistant recruitment director helps students find home at law school
Jenna Jackson felt at home as a student at UGA's School of Law in 2011.
Now, she's helping others find a home at the law school.
It's not the first time she's recruited students to UGA. In 2012, she took a student recruiting assistant position with the football team, and that turned into a full-time position in 2014. She accepted her current position as assistant director of recruitment and student experience in the School of Law in September 2015.
Assistant Director of Recruitment and Student Experience
- School of Law
- M.P.A., University of Georgia, anticipated 2019
- J.D., Unviersty of Georgia, 2014
- B.A., Commumication Studies, Mercer University, 2011
- At UGA: Six years as student and staff member
"I get to know people, and I try to figure out what they need out of this next phase in their life," she said. "That's where I think I'm very lucky. I get to easily talk about my experience when I was a student and also about what we're looking for and what our goals are."
Jackson's interest in law started as a student-athlete at Mercer University. She ran track and frequently visited her coach's office. She saw how much went into running the athletics program and noticed how many people running it were lawyers. That, coupled with her desire to work with young people, brought her to UGA, where she specialized in contracts.
"I can give [potential students] a look that's different, I can give them an interest that's different, and I can give them a background that's different," she said. "I think that's what makes me valuable to our team."
As Miss UGA in 2013, Jackson said she was "an ambassador for the university," which involved everything from working with volunteer and service organizations to talking with donors. That experience taught her to be prepared for anything, which included keeping a black dress and heels in her car so that she could "put on her crown and go where I needed to be."
"Being a figurehead for something as storied as the University of Georgia was an adjustment, it was a trial, and it was worthwhile," she said.
Another lesson Jackson said she learned from holding a pageant title, including Miss Georgia United States in 2015, is how to be a "wise advocate," particularly to young girls who are watching. Her reigns gave her an opportunity to inspire them to be themselves.
That sentiment holds true in her current position. Jackson said she wants prospective students "to make the best decision for themselves." She sees her role as "bridging the existing School of Law to the generation and era that is to come." Recruiting is important, she said, because admissions to law schools have become even more competitive. More important for Jackson, though, is the opportunity to reach people who haven't been reached.
"Historically, everyone wasn't privy to this type of education," she said. "It's important to get people out there to reach minds that might not be sparked by traditional means of legal recruitment."
According to Jackson, strong candidates have the mental prowess to complete law school and pass the bar exam. She said being genuine and keenly aware of strengths and weaknesses also sets law students up for success.
"This isn't a transaction. You're not giving us your money, and we're not just giving you a degree," she said. "This is a community that you're joining—a community that you'll belong to the rest of your life."