Monthly Archives: December 2013

Bobcat Faces: Haydyn Jackson

December grad creatively merges diverse fields of studies

By Mindy Green

Photo of Haydyn Jackson

Jackson’s artwork is inspired by the study of culture and human interaction.

When Haydyn Jackson first enrolled at Texas State, she declared art and design as her major. As she started getting into her upper-level classes, however, she decided to pursue a different field. Jackson found herself drawn to anthropology, and eventually she switched her major. “The idea of studying culture and the way people interact and socialize seems really important,” Jackson says.

After switching majors, art was no longer Jackson’s primary focus. Her professors, however, encouraged her to continue to develop her artistic talents. She credits Ashe Laughlin, senior lecturer in the School of Art and Design for helping her decide to keep art as a minor. “He wouldn’t let me give up on it,” she says.

Dr. Teri Evans-Palmer also played a big role in Jackson’s college career by supporting her and helping her find the connection between anthropology and art. “Haydyn always seemed to want to go beyond learning about techniques and skills to find out more about the artists that produced artifacts left on the earth,” says Evans-Palmer. “What cultural or social phenomenon initiated this type of imagery? What happened in the lives of these cultures, the social context, that initiated this type of work? Her investigations that led her into producing art have such an obvious scientific methodology to the process.”

There is no conflict between Jackson’s two passions. Instead, anthropological studies have given Jackson new sources of inspiration. “Anthropology informs my art,” she says. “My subject matter and ideas all stem from the way I see myself interacting with society and the way I see society interacting with me.”

There are additional benefits: “Anthropology has given me the best skills learning how to listen to people and work cooperatively,” Jackson says. Jackson is using these skills in a variety of art initiatives, such as curating exhibitions, showing her own artwork in galleries and coordinating art walks around town.

After graduation, Jackson plans on seeking a job in an art gallery and eventually continuing her studies in graduate school. One of the greatest lessons she learned at Texas State is also her best advice to others: “Follow what you love to do,” Jackson says, “and everything you need will fall into place.”

Students: Gerardo Antonio Feria

A student from
both sides of the border

IMG_20131108_223146by Reginald Andah

One of Gerardo Antonio Feria’s favorite sayings is “Be the change you want to be in the world.” Taking that advice to heart, Feria came to Texas State, where he is completing a master’s degree in criminal justice — a degree that will help him make the difference he envisions.

“Contributing to making this world a safer place is one of the biggest concerns not only of this country, but everywhere,” says Feria. “I believe my education can give me the specific skills I need to make a positive impact.”

The journey to Texas was a homecoming for the 26-year-old Feria. Born in Houston, he moved with his family at age 2 to Mexico, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in law from the Popular Autonomous University of the State of Puebla in 2009. Feria considered his degree to be just one step along the path to his career goals. “I decided to push forward in my education so I could be considered a high standard candidate. I want to be above average in the job market,” he says.

Searching online for a master’s degree program brought him to Texas State, and a campus visit sealed the deal.

“The first time I saw the San Marcos River, I knew this was the place I wanted to call home,” he recalls.

Moving more than 2,300 miles from his family didn’t deter Feria. His ambition pushes him beyond obstacles. “I like big challenges, so whatever I do, I always make sure to complete it,” he says.

Between classes, studying, volunteering and work, Feria has a schedule that would make most people buckle. He slowed down just long enough for us to ask him a few questions about his Texas State experience.

Q. Why did you choose Texas State?
A. Texas State is a unique university because it is open to cultural diversification. It feels like home to me, not to mention it has an excellent criminal justice program. The professors are so brilliant and at the same time so friendly and humble.

Q. What are your career goals?
A. After graduation, I want to become a U.S. Army officer. I enlisted just a few weeks ago. When I complete my service, I hope to work in U.S. federal law enforcement.

Q. How are the things you’re studying helping you reach your goals?
A. I develop research projects on crime. Statistics can tell me a lot about human behavior, especially deviant behavior. I’m learning how to manage police personnel in order to control crime effectively and efficiently.

Q. What is the best event you attended at Texas State?
A. The School of Criminal Justice graduation in fall 2012, because that is where I’m going to be next year when I graduate. I know I’ll make it because my teachers are willing to help in any way they can and are the friendliest people I have ever met.

Q. What do you like to do when you are not in class?
A. I’m a black belt in Taekwondo and teach Olympic Taekwondo classes in San Marcos and Austin. It is one of the most important parts of my life. I believe that self-defense can improve people’s lives. When dealing with kids, I’m teaching them more than self-defense, discipline or being in good shape; I believe I’m helping to keep them away from things such as drugs, alcohol and crime.

Q. What’s the best advice you received about college? What advice would you give to help students make the most of their college experience?
A. My father told me, “College time is just an instance in your life. Enjoy it, benefit from it and finish it.” If I were to give advice to students just as my father did for me, I would say focus on your goals, have faith, manage your time and never give up. And if you really want to learn, come to Texas State.