Dr. Jackson’s first Semester at Sea voyage was in 1999 as an undergraduate at the University of Colorado. He went on to complete his doctorate at the University of Texas and is now an Associate Professor at the University of Idaho. He excited to share his experiences as a scientist, educator, and Semester at Sea alumnus with students this fall.
As a scientist, Dr. Jackson proposed a theory called Evolved Navigation Theory, which identifies how evolution by natural selection shaped human perception and navigation. This work has implications for things like how to land planes, design virtual reality technology, and prevent falls, which are a major source of human mortality worldwide. He has conducted research internationally and won awards and grants for this work, as well as his teaching. He especially enjoys teaching abroad because he feels that travel is essential for student learning and personal growth. It can teach things that are impossible to learn in a classroom or any other setting on a traditional campus.
Beyond his love of teaching and travel, Dr. Jackson’s greatest motivation to join our voyage is his love for Semester at Sea. Many alumni describe Semester at Sea as one of the best experiences of their lives. Although people usually expect this, they’re often surprised by where it comes from: the ship and everyone on it. Before sailing on Semester at Sea as a student, Dr. Jackson’s goal was to spend time in the ports. The ports were the only thing in which he was really interested before he sailed. However, he came to a surprising discovery. In the process of growing and experiencing the world in such a unique setting, he came to love the ship and its community even more than the places visited. He realized that it wasn’t just the ports, but the people that made his experience what it was. He can’t wait to share in this experience with the next generation of his fellow alumni.