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Alumni Spotlight | Aniya Jackson

July 18, 2023
By Marcus Platt

TNA Class of 2018

Aniya Jackson


Aniya Jackson is a TNA Graduate of the class of 2018 and  recently earned her bachelor’s degree in Public Health from Slippery Rock University in August of 2022.

Currently, Aniya works as a Care Manager for LifeSpan, a non profit organization located in Homestead, PA, to assist senior citizens and their needs. Her duties as a care manager consists of offering support to Allegheny County residents aged 60 or older with a variety of services such as housing services, meals, and any other accommodations they may need in their senior living communities.

“I’ve always been the kind of person who likes or takes pride in helping  and assisting other people.” Aniya adds.

When asked about her college experience, Aniya lets out a sigh of relief and sums up her college experience in a few words, “Covid happened,” after letting out a brief chuckle, she elaborated. Despite two of her four years at SRU being virtual, she did her best to remain involved on campus in student organizations when the opportunities presented themselves. “Freshman year was one of my easier years, and I can credit that to the work ethic TNA instilled in me throughout my years there and thanks to my Jumpstart program.” – A freshman orientation program where incoming freshmen move-in to the dorms early to familiarize themselves with their classmates and the campus.

“The workload was more manageable than I'd expected thanks to all of the prep that TNA had done with me beforehand (writing long papers, reading and annotating, studying outside of class, etc.). I can say that thanks to that, I was better prepared than my peers for college”

During her sophomore and junior years, we were faced with the pandemic and Aniya was forced to adapt from being in class everyday, to attending  all of her classes virtually. Aniya says it was not an easy adjustment for her during that  time. “I’m not the biggest fan of virtual classes,” she explained “It was hard for me to stay motivated for classes when I could attend them in my pajamas, but I was determined to finish what I had started.” She persevered  until eventually the campus was reopened by the end of  her junior year, and the students were invited to come back to Slippery Rock. This was when she began to get more involved in student organizations on campus. It was then that she became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority incorporated, and became the president of an organization on campus called Queens,  a black student run organization which serves as a safe space for minorities on campus, primarily focused but not limited to the African American community on Slippery Rock’s campus.

As for the future , Aniya has hopes of going back to school to pursue a postgraduate degree, although  she is unsure of what she wants to major in at the moment. “I’m not 100% certain about my decision yet,” she says, “a few of my peers are pursuing their master’s degrees which is encouraging to me and make[s] me want to give it a try, but I’m also at a place in my life where I am trying to figure out what is next for me professionally.”

Aniya says that she has many fond TNA memories, she was a student athlete participating in volleyball and track & field, but she says her fondest memory was having the opportunity to travel abroad with The Neighborhood Academy to Barcelona, Madrid and France.

“It was this experience that opened my eyes to the beauty of travel and learning about different cultures, and it made me want to explore more!” Aniya says. “I remember it snowing in France and it was cold, and the students from a different school in Florida were so surprised seeing snow for the first time and meanwhile us Pittsburghers are like ‘we’re used to this’ and we had a laugh about it.”

Aniya shared this bit of advice from all her experiences: , “Don’t be afraid to put yourself in positions to be more knowledgeable. You never know what you’re going to learn and where it can take you.” She also adds “Don't be afraid to try something and fail, there’s lessons in that and lastly, be open minded because an open mind can take you a lot further than a close mind can.”