University of Tennessee

LaKietha Jackson

Working with community organizations and educators, Jackson connects high school students with programs that expose them to the possibilities Haslam and UT offer.

- Staff

LaKietha Jackson, coordinator of outreach and precollegiate programs for the Haslam College of Business, provides early opportunities for future success. Through the Office of Diversity and Community Relations, she identifies and recruits a diverse population of students and offers access to precollegiate programs to learn about college life and the field of business.

A Tennessee native, Jackson uses her own experiences to share higher-education opportunities.

“I am that diverse student from the Knoxville community,” Jackson says. “I understand the importance that the University of Tennessee can play in students’ lives.”

Working with community organizations and educators, Jackson connects high school students with programs that expose them to the possibilities Haslam and UT offer.

These opportunities include three precollegiate programs she manages: Business Education for Talented Students (BETS), Accounting and Information Management (AIM) Academy, and Women Empowered Through Business (WEB) Institute. These summer programs introduce underrepresented high school sophomores and juniors to business-related careers.

The BETS program, AIM Academy and WEB Institute include a five- to 10-day residency experience on campus. Students take classes together, attend workshops, learn from Haslam faculty and network with business professionals.

“These programs are important because they provide opportunities for many underrepresented high school students to participate in a college readiness program on a college campus,” Jackson says.

She connects with high school educators and community-based youth-serving programs to help recruit for the precollegiate programs. Locally, she partners with the Knoxville Area Urban League, Girl Talk Inc., Boys and Girls Club, and Emerald Youth Foundation to create a strong pipeline for the programs. Jackson works with the community groups to plan campus visits, introducing high school students to business majors and careers and spotlighting the precollegiate programs.

“A lot of the students I approach, UT might not be on their radar,” says Jackson. “We want students to see the opportunities here and help them feel welcome.”

Jackson’s precollegiate program recruitment is crucial to creating a welcoming environment.

“Having representation is important,” she says. “We want our participants to know there are communities here at UT for them and support systems to meet their individual needs. Having a community to connect with and knowledge of resources available to meet their needs helps students foster their sense of belonging on campus.”

Jackson is already working on recruitment opportunities for middle school students and connecting them with alumni through the precollegiate programs.

“We want to build intentional relationships to bring the best opportunities for our students,” she says.