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ISSUE 115 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/8/2002

Jackson takes her place in St. Olaf history

By Anonymous
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 8, 2002

“ In the beginning, there were meetings, says senior Melissa Jackson. Known to her friends as Missy, she sums up her St. Olaf experience in two words: politics and history. And for Jackson, both have involved meetings, meetings, and more meetings. Jackson, a History/Ancient Studies major from Bettendorf, Iowa, has been active in the College Republicans for four years, as secretary for three. Her interest in politics started early. I naturally followed my father, she said. She greatly enjoyed the two major trips she has taken with the College Republicans, despite both the 24-hour bus journeys involved. During a trip to the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, she saw Bush and Cheney nominated. In 2001, she saw Eric Hoplin 01 named Executive Director of the College Republicans Executive Committee at their national convention. The Minnesota clubs are well-known, she said. People recognized me because of Eric. This year, she has also been involved in the Political Awareness Committee (PAC), as the only senior on the committee. Its been interesting, because all my political stuff has been really one- sided, she says. As the Issues Director, she is responsible for keeping the campus informed of political issues, and writes a column for the Manitou Messenger for that purpose. But this year theres only been one issue, she says, and you can only write on that so many times. In addition, Jackson heads, both history clubs, Phi Alpha Theta, the history honor society, and KLIO, a recreational history society. I make it a point to make sure I know every history professor, she said. She was the only sophomore in her year to be elected to Phi Alpha Theta. Jackson is also an enthusiastic student worker for the campus mail service, despite a short stint as a cafeteria worker. I said post office; they said food service, she jokes. But after three years in the post office, she often greets new acquaintances with a request for Last name? and a rundown of the typical contents of their PO boxes. I know everyone on campus, but not by sight, she says. Her plans post-graduation are to make money somehow. She already knows one thing she wont do -- work for a psychic, which she did as a summer job in high school. She distributed fliers advertising the psychics services onto car windshields and front doors. I was paid in cash, and I only worked on days when he felt good. Its given me a hatred of psychics, she says. But in the long term, Jacksons dream is to write historical fiction. All of my major interests in history have been inspired by a book, she says, and she would like to do the same for others. One project she has been working on is the story of Peggy Eaton, the wife of a cabinet minister during Andrew Jacksons presidency who was ostracized by the other cabinet wives, a situation that eventually caused Jackson to fire his entire cabinet. Melissa Jacksons version would be told through the eyes of Peggys maid. However, she adds, History professors dont approve [of historical fiction]. They want real history. Jackson's final major interest is a bit less cerebral: she is a huge admirer of Matt Damon. She owns several Matt Damon posters, has seen almost all of his movies, and has used his picture as wallpaper on her computer. She first became a fan of the actor after seeing previews for Dogma, the fourth movie in the View Askew series by director Kevin Smith. It was really Dogmas fault, she says with a laugh.

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