Oglethorpe’s first Achieve Atlanta Scholar graduates

Dayla Jackson, Oglethorpe University’s first Achieve Atlanta scholar, graduated this year with a major in Studio Art and minor in Environmental Studies.

Dayla Jackson ’20

Achieve Atlanta is a nonprofit working to dramatically increase the number of Atlanta Public Schools students who graduate college. The organization addresses the obstacles students face in completing post-secondary education by increasing college access; removing financial barriers for students; and supporting college persistence and completion.

Oglethorpe University is among Achieve Atlanta’s first College Success partners, which host targeted programs to ensure the scholars thrive on campus and graduate. Since 2015, Oglethorpe has provided Achieve Atlanta scholars with comprehensive advising, mentoring, and coaching services to ensure their success.

Jackson was first connected with Achieve Atlanta before attending Oglethorpe, while she was a student at Maynard Holbrook Jackson High School.

“Being an Achieve Atlanta Scholar gave me the opportunity to grow as a leader, as a student, and as a person. It helped give me the structure and support I needed to succeed as a college student,” Jackson said. “I always have wanted to be the best individual and student I can be. Achieve Atlanta helped reinforce these values and gave me the extra tools I needed to make my dreams a reality.”

Achieve Atlanta is a great support system. If you need them, they’re there for you. They are great cheerleaders!

Jackson aspires to communicate ecological concepts through visual media and messaging to the general public as a graphic designer.

“It has been great to see the growth of these students and the program as a whole,” said Clara Grimaldo ’21, Oglethorpe’s student ambassador for the program. “We are all incredibly proud of Dayla. She is an amazing artist and student and has a very bright future ahead of her. I’m excited to see where life takes her after college. I’m sure we’ll be seeing her art and name out there in the future.”

While at Oglethorpe, Jackson was a member of Alpha Phi Omega and Environmentally Conscious Oglethorpe Students (ECOS). She previously interned as a team strategist with Monarch Collaborations—a nonprofit organization that restores the habitats of monarch butterflies and educates the general public on monarch butterflies within the Atlanta metro area. The recent graduate is a former intern at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art (OUMA), where she helped to install the Salvador Dali Stairway to Heaven exhibit.

Jackson contributes much of her success at Oglethorpe to Professor of Mathematics Dr. J. Lynn Gieger and Professor of Art Alan Loehle.

“Dr. Gieger made a lasting impact on me as a college student, as well as an individual. Even after I had those few math courses with her, she still made an effort to contribute to my personal and professional growth,” Jackson said. “Our conversations meant a great deal to me during my time as an Oglethorpe student.”

To future Achieve Atlanta Scholars, Jackson advised them to “be the best that you can be. Don’t be afraid to take risks, because now is the best time to do so. You have a whole team of people supporting you that are ready to help you when you need it.”

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