Joe R. Jackson

Joe R. Jackson

Joe R.  Jackson
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, 2010

"I beam with pride."

Joe R. Jackson of Pascogoula, Mississippi has harbored the dream of becoming a Substance Abuse Counselor for decades. After separating from the US Air Force in 1977, he attended courses in the Nursing Program at Houston Community College, but found the demands of raising a young family incompatible with being a full-time student. When we last spoke to him, he told us, “The flame of self-improvement still flickered while I was working rotating 12 hour shifts as a Refinery Operator. I am three years into my five-year plan, which will launch my second career after retiring from Chevron with 20+ years of service.”

The first step in Joe’s five-year plan was to earn a degree. In June 2007, after researching his online education options, Joe enrolled in Ashford University’s Bachelor of Arts in Psychology online degree program. “As you can imagine, because I was working the rotating shifts, time management was the greatest obstacle I faced during my tenure with Ashford. To further complicate matters, I had a total knee replacement in 2008, but that experience only made me endeavor to persevere against all odds.” Joe’s perseverance paid off, and in February 2010, at age 56, he became part of the largest graduating class in Ashford’s history.

After completing his coursework, Joe enrolled at a local college to complete his psychology practicum and internship, which, combined with his Ashford degree, would give him the credentials he needs to realize his goal of becoming a substance abuse counselor. “Achieving my educational goal of earning a degree has put me ahead of schedule on my five-year plan. The next step is earning my state certification for a substance abuse counselor.”

Upon reflection of the work required to pursue this degree, and with the understanding that the pursuit allowed him to chase down and realize his dream of self-improvement, Joe offers a simple, but powerful phrase: “I beam with pride.” 

In 2011, Joe checked in with us and let us know he was still working hard on his practicum and internship at Home of Grace Men's Campus in Van Cleve, Mississippi. "I am working to compile the 6,000 hours needed for my state/national certification as a substance abuse counselor."

Additionally, Joe has gotten involved with two community aftercare recovery groups, offering support to clients who are attempting to remain substance free. "As a society, we often say, 'Someone should do something about that.' Thanks to the confidence I received after completing my Ashford degree, I am that someone."