Milton Jackson, Jr. has his hands in a lot of different pots; but adversity and hard work is nothing new for him. After graduating from Prairie View A&M with a B.S. in Biomedical Chemistry in 2009, the Vicksburg, MS native worked tirelessly to survive after not receiving a chemistry-related job post-graduation. For a time he held several part-time jobs, including landscaping, in-home tutoring, and a freelance masseuse, all at once. As circumstances became more difficult, a desperate Milton made the decision to make a call that would change the trajectory of his life. He contacted Prof. Dave Johnson whom he had met on only two previous occasions - once at the University of Oregon in 2007 where Milton was a part of the summer program now known as Rock Camp and again when he returned to give his final presentation. With Dave’s support Milton entered the Master’s Internship Program and eventually became one of the first Transitional Fellows Ph.D. candidates. A testament to not only the bonds formed within the CSMC community, but also his own tenacity, Milton is now a member of the Darren Johnson lab and making the most his opportunities.
Currently Milton works on several projects that focus on using Raman spectroscopy and Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) to elucidate the solution and solid state characteristics of clusters precursors that have been developed in the CSMC. These precursors include the Group 13 clusters as well as the HfSOx precursor that is currently used for nanopatterning. In addition to his work in lab, Milton is also making an impact in the classroom. In his free time Milton serves as the Graduate Student Director for the Pipeline to Higher Learning Program. This pilot program at UO aims to close the achievement gap, increase diversity in academia, and elevate our nation's global academic ranking through the mentorship of high school and undergraduate students. “I want to make my impact in the classroom”, he states. While he hopes to one day become a professor, he would first like to return to industry. This way he can have the experience of both academia and industry to share with his students. As a mentor in and out of the lab, Milton embodies the traits of the consummate academic mentor.