Daniel Jackson is dedicated to supporting his community and contributing to a brighter future. While attending Jones College Prep, he took many honors courses, served in Student Government and participated in many extracurricular activities. Yet Daniel still made it a priority to volunteer regularly at Red Shield Head Start in his home neighborhood of Englewood. He explained in an essay, “I want to teach the children in my neighborhood. It is my turn to be part of the village that supports other children like me in the future.”

As Daniel began the college application process, he discovered the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation while searching for scholarships on the Internet. (Fewer than 20 percent of Pullman Scholars chosen in 2014 learned about the Foundation solely through their own research.) In his Pullman Scholar application essay, Daniel wrote, “My long-term goal is to give children equity in their education…In my neighborhood, students often feel as if their opinion does not count. However, I want them to know that I will hear their thoughts and address them when appropriate. I love to share with them that they have to be persistent when trying to pursue their dreams.”

Daniel attended last year’s Annual Pullman Scholars Symposium soon after being chosen as a Scholar. He says of the classes offered at the symposium, “We were taught to ask our teachers for help, how to interface with the financial aid offices at our colleges, and about the importance of getting involved in clubs and networking opportunities on campus. I was also excited to be in a place where I could meet the former Pullman Scholars, who are now in many parts of corporate America.”

Recently, Daniel completed his freshman year at Illinois State University, where he is majoring in Elementary Education. When asked what advice he would give to this year’s new Pullman Scholars, he says, “I understand the effort that it takes to get to college. Once you’re here, be sure to speak with your professors and teaching assistants early on at least twice a semester. Keep your GPA up by going to tutoring, and always network, even if speaking to strangers makes you uncomfortable – just do it.”

Throughout his freshman year, Daniel joined over five registered student organizations including Student Government Emerging Leaders Program, Golden Apple Scholars ISU, Interdenominational Youth Choir, Admissions Crew tour guide, and NAACP. In the fall, he will be a Resident Assistant for the university housing department and university faculty and staff tour guide.

After graduation, Daniel will be well-positioned to pursue his dream of becoming an educator. His Pullman Scholar essay read, “Inner-city schools are in need of more African-American educators with relatable life experiences that they can share with students. I not only want to be a teacher in the classroom but I want to be their mentor to help guide them through a successful life. I want to be like the teachers I had, and allow students to hear my success story.”