Summer takes on a whole new meaning when you meet the young woman working behind the scenes in Meyer Hall. A member of the Physics Department faculty, this woman really knows what it takes to make things run smoothly for faculty and students alike at Mines. When she is not working on campus, she expresses herself through fashion. Colorado School of Mines, meet Summer Jackson.
[Oredigger] First off, where are you from/where did you grow up?
[Jackson] I grew up in Bailey, Colorado.
What is it that you do for us at Mines?
I work part-time as a permanent classified employee for the Department of Physics. One of my main duties is to assist faculty and students with their travel and reimbursement needs. I also support the Physics Colloquium Coordinator by updating the colloquium website, sending confirmation letters to speakers, and setting up the colloquium refreshments in a visually pleasing and appetizing way.
What is the best part about your job?
My favorite part about my role is interacting with CSM’s diverse range of students and faculty from all over the world. I am now inspired to learn more about other languages, cultures, and geography.
If you could travel anywhere to learn about their culture, where would you go and why?
I think I would pick Ireland. I just love the setting. You know, all the history. And the castles! Or Germany, so I could return to my heritage.
Are there any influential students or faculty that stand out from your experiences at Mines?
All the Chinese students. I absolutely love them! They’re totally open; they seem to really appreciate when you take the time to get to know their culture. I’ve actually learned a little bit of Mandarin Chinese and speak to them sometimes.
What do you do when you are not at work?
Work from home (laughs). When I am not at working, I am working. When not actively working at CSM, I am involved in a start-up apparel company. Each year I also self-promote, design, and model in my annual Zombie-themed fashion show called “March of the Zombies.” This year’s zombie fashion show will take place March 12th at Bender’s Tavern and will feature CSM Physics students, of whom I have recruited to rock the runway in local zombie designer garb.
With all the photography and fashion designing in mind, do you consider yourself an artist?
Yes! My creative edge comes from my background in fashion design. I graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in Apparel Design and Production from CSU. I enjoy infusing creativity in all that I do and I am pleased to have opportunities to do so within the Physics Department.
Why physics instead of something more traditionally creative such as LAIS?
Well I got this job on a transfer since I was already working for the State, and I knew I wanted to work in an academic setting. Physics is so big, it’s something you have a hard time understanding. But working here, you absorb things you didn’t think you would know. I have gained so much about creativity through immersing myself in the Physics environment. I am grateful to work in such an enriching environment.
How well does your job at Mines coincide with your fashion career?
It works amazing for me! I am very self-sufficient here. I have my list of priorities, get them done, and then receive the instant gratification. But that’s only three days of the week. Then I can go home and sort of switch roles, to keep it fresh.
So you definitely enjoy your job here?
Definitely! If I didn’t have the support of my boss, Barbara Pratt-Johnson, and the department head, Tom Furtak, I would not enjoy it as much. In past jobs, my creativity was not accepted or appreciated. [Barbara] encourages me to be creative and continuously improves upon my work processes, while [Tom] recognizes my creative strengths and considers me for creative projects/assignments. I feel very fortunate to be in the position I am here.
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