History alumni profile: Kevin Jackson (’15)May 25, 2021 - Mandy Halbert
What can you do with a history major? Kevin Jackson, a 2015 Ouachita graduate, currently works as an immigration lawyer to advocate for asylum seekers and trafficking victims, among others.
“I decided that becoming an immigration lawyer would be a good way to use my skills that I developed as a history major and in a way that could make a difference for people that I cared about,” Jackson said. “Being able to look at other countries’ historical contexts and what have caused people to have to come [to the U.S.] for humanitarian relief has served me really well.
“I’m working with a lot of asylum seekers and trafficking victims, and the things that happened to them that lead them to flee their countries don’t happen in a vacuum,” he added.
Upon graduating from Ouachita in 2020, Jackson began pursuing his law degree at the University of Virginia as the 19th recipient of the Powell Fellowship in Legal Studies, which awards $45,000 to enable a law school graduate to work in public interest law.
“Legal research is very intense and dense, and if I hadn’t had the framework and foundation from studying as a history major, it would have been a lot more difficult,” he added.
Jackson said the culture of Ouachita’s Department of History also was a plus. From grabbing coffee in the department to grading quizzes and having candid conversations with his professors, Jackson said these daily moments were “not a single memory, but a very big part of my undergraduate life.”
So, how to know if history is for you? According to Jackson, it’s having a curiosity for the people, the backstories and the big picture.
“I think when you’re a high schooler reading history books, you end up zooming in on, say, World War II to the exclusion of pretty much everything else,” Jackson said. “Coming to Ouachita and becoming a history major taught me the depth that history has and just the variety of subjects, the infinite variety of people’s stories, and everything that goes into history was so much more than the wars I enjoyed reading about in high school.”
To learn more about Ouachita’s history major, visit obu.edu/history.