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thumb BarbaraJacksonFor nearly 40 years, Barbara Jackson has been teaching, mentoring and inspiring students studying chemistry at Tennessee Tech University.

This semester will be her final as a TTU professor. To celebrate her career and impact at the university, the chemistry department will host a retirement reception at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, May 1, in Foster 233. At the event, Jackson will give a talk reflecting on her 36 years on campus. A casual reception will follow.

“Dr. Barbara Jackson is a faculty member who is committed to helping others succeed,” said fellow chemistry instructor Janet Coonce. “She genuinely cares for all people and is an inspiration to many. Her positive attitude, effective teaching philosophies and tremendous work ethic will be greatly missed.”

Jackson came to Cookeville in 1978 as an assistant professor after finishing post-doctoral work in neurochemistry at the Medical University of South Carolina. She earned her doctoral degree from Vanderbilt and her bachelor’s degree in biology from Georgian Court College, in New Jersey.

Away from the laboratories and blackboards, Jackson is also an award-winning screenwriter and director. Several years ago, “Forgotten Son,” won first place at the International Film Festival in Los Angeles. It is a story about methamphetamine addiction as seen by a young boy whose mother is an addict.

In her 36 years of teaching, Jackson has never stopped inspiring students, both those studying chemistry as a major and those taking it to fulfill a general education requirement.

“She was not just a professor who handed me work and told me to go at it,” said Erin Curry, a junior music major who worked in Jackson’s office last her freshman year. “She became somewhat of a free tutor and mentor to me: every day I walked into her office, I left with chemistry tricks that helped me remember material I had struggled with since junior high.”

The reception is open to the public. Foster Hall is at 55 University Drive, Cookeville.

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