June 2016: Bianca Jackson
Born and raised in the Bahamas, Bianca Jackson, SMC ’01, had her sights set on Temple University from a young age. She embraced her new surroundings in Philadelphia and took advantage of every opportunity time would allow. Now as a successful alumna and regional chapter board member, Bianca is committed to spreading the Temple love far outside the range of campus.
I chose to attend Temple University after spending my summers in Philadelphia as a child. I remember driving down Broad Street and thinking, “I want to go to the school with all the T flags!” Growing up in the Bahamas, a lot of people go to college in Florida because it’s close. But I wanted to be in a totally different environment. Once I graduated high school, Temple sent my very first college acceptance letter. And I knew that’s where I was going, I felt that it was just destiny.
When I was an undergrad my dream was to become a doctor, and I knew Temple had a fantastic medical school. In my second year I walked into my Organic Chemistry class and realized I needed to get out of there, quickly! Nothing made sense. I went to my advisor and we talked about my interests and options, and I ended up in the Journalism, Public Relations and Advertising (JPRA) major in the School of Media and Communications. I absolutely loved it. What made it so ironic was that when I moved to Dallas, my very first job was in a hospital, so I ended up doing communications in a hospital setting. I had the best of both worlds.
Outside of classes I worked as much as I could. As an international student, I wasn’t eligible for student loans, so working was a necessity. When I got on the plane to go to Philadelphia as a freshman, I didn’t even have a full year’s tuition in the bank, I just had enough to get me started. Every semester was like a walk of faith. I had a part-time job on campus at the Career Center, and I also spent a summer on the Owl Team, leading orientation for new students. I loved doing that so much! These jobs, paired with an internship with the 76ers, kept me pretty busy until graduation.
"Bianca is a class act and someone I believe embodies what it is to be a Temple Owl: grit, determination, and an unwavering commitment to community. Bianca's dedication to and enthusiasm for Temple serves as an inspiration to me, and I am proud to know her.”
My involvement with the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter began through a friend who told me about a networking night the chapter was hosting. I was excited by the prospect of connecting with people who knew what I was talking about when I talked about Temple. I love to wear my “Temple T” apparel, but here in Dallas they think it’s for Texas Tech! It’s frustrating. I’ve found that the connections I’ve made through the chapter are bigger than Temple; they bring me back to that certain time in my life that gives me a sense of real pride.
I look forward to our chapter continuing to grow. Some of us on the board love the sports aspect, but we know we can’t just offer football road trips. We have a museum tour coming up in June, and now we’re thinking about hosting a wine tasting, too. We are really working to think about a variety of activities that will bring in different people with Temple connections.
Volunteering with Temple is important as it reminds me of how strong I am, how strong we all are. It’s easy to get beaten down by the every day, and my time with the chapter reminds me that I really did some great things during my time in Philadelphia. Being connected to other alumni allows me to recall that time and celebrate that; it just keeps me inspired.
I think potential volunteers should make the time for Temple, because it’s worth it. I think it’s even more important the further away you are from campus. You are representing the university, even if you are thousands of miles away. You’re telling people how great it was, and you’re talking about how wonderful the institution is. You’re doing the educating and you’re bringing awareness. I think the further away you are the more important it is to make that connection for all alumni out there.
Learn more about the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter and find a regional chapter near you.
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The Volunteer Spotlight program was created to highlight outstanding Temple alumni volunteers who have dedicated their time and talent through service to the University.
Do you know of an alumnus who should be featured in the Volunteer Spotlight? Contact Michelle Nicoletto at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-204-4293.