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Emmanuel Jackson

Undergraduate Major: Sociology

Future Plans: Graduate program in Urban Sociology

Emmanuel Jackson

Emmanuel Jackson was born and raised in New Jersey until he and his family moved to Sanford, Florida in 2007. Emmanuel earned his Associate of Arts degree from Seminole State College of Florida in 2011. Currently, he is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Sociology with a minor in African American studies. Emmanuel is on the executive board of both University Christian Fellowship and the John T. Washington Honor Society, and is a mentor at Memorial Middle School. His research interests include urban education, homelessness, urban poverty, and black masculinity. He aspires to obtain his Master's of Social Work to work with nonprofit organizations in impoverished communities that focus on African American youth development and providing resources and permanent employment for low income families and homeless individuals. He eventually wishes to earn his Ph.D in order to become active in policy advocacy, educational consulting, and motivational speaking.

Title: Beating the Odds: Examining Success Among African American Male Students

Conducted at the University of Central Florida as part of the McNair Scholars Program

Mentor: Amy Donley, Ph.D.

Abstract: The discussion of African American males and their lack of motivation and desire to succeed academically have drawn major talk and concern amongst leaders and politicians from around the nation. Dr. John Ogbu, former professor at the University of California at Berkeley, has attributed this lack of motivation to a theory of oppositional culture which attempts to explain racial inequalities in educational achievement, particularly between white and black Americans. As a result of this theory, it is widely believed that African American male youth do not want to succeed academically and would rather drop out of school for fear of "acting white." Although this may be true in some instances, it is not true for the majority of African American males. To prove this point, this project explores the lives of academically successful African American male high school students who are past the legal drop out age and attend a known low-performing school. Through semi-structured qualitative interviews that were transcribed and analyzed for themes, the project examines what factors these students, who have maintained a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, attribute to their success and whether they face any stigma amongst their peers. The project's aim is to show that there are African American males who are motivated and devoted to succeeding academically and that the theory of oppositional culture is not true in all disadvantaged environments. This issue is more relevant today than ever as education increasingly becomes a topic of intense debate throughout our nation.

Title: Blending In: Downplaying Homelessness in Society 

Conducted at University of Central as part of the Research and Mentoring Program

Mentor: Dr. Amy Donley, Department of Sociology, University of Central Florida

Abstract: This research explores how homeless men in Sanford, Florida, attempt to hide or downplay their homeless status in order to appear "normal" by domiciled individuals and blend into the greater community. It examines techniques these individuals use to blend in, including clothing choices and their levels of interaction with others.