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Doctoral Student Mario Jackson ’24PHD Makes International Connections Through Global Graduate Presenter Award

NC State College of Education doctoral student Mario Jackson in Liverpool, UK

Mario Jackson ’24PHD, a doctoral student in the NC State College of Education’s Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development educational evaluation and policy analysis program area of study, has been able to start establishing himself internationally as a scholar in his field thanks to funding from the college’s Global Graduate Presenter Award. 

The award supports College of Education students who wish to present their research at an international conference through the reimbursement of up to $1,000 of their travel expenses. Award recipients then share the knowledge and experience they gained through their international experience with College of Education students, faculty and staff. 

Using the award, Jackson was able to present during the Belmas Annual Conference in Liverpool, United Kingdom, in July. 

“Getting the opportunity to attend and present at the conference was an amazing experience as it allowed me to expand my network beyond NC State and the United States. Also, sharing our findings and getting feedback from other scholars was truly beneficial to me personally,” he said. “Without this financial award, I don’t know how I would have been able to attend the conference, so I am extremely grateful for the support from the College of Education.” 

NC State College of Education doctoral student Mario Jackson in Liverpool, UK

The presentation Jackson delivered during the conference examined how principals across North Carolina addressed inequities that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

After engaging with literature related to school leadership for a published paper entitled Locating Equity in Principals’ Pandemic Decision-Making Practices, Jackson and his co-authors realized much of the emerging research focused on exacerbated inequities, but not what was being done to address them. He therefore thought it was important to shed light on the efforts of principals to counter inequities and acknowledge the important role principals play in mediating school- and community-based inequities. 

Findings presented during the conference showed that principals leveraged equity in three major ways: resource allocation, collaboration with families and communities and the cultivation of an equitable school climate. 

“The findings offer important implications for district leaders and principal preparation programs,” Jackson said. 

In addition to having the opportunity to present his research to an international audience, Jackson said attending the conference allowed him to connect with and learn from other scholars in his field.

One standout moment, he said, was a conversation with a professor who also served as a graduate program director at a university in the U.S. who invited Jackson to apply for a job in her department after graduation. 

“The conversation was an encouraging one that made me realize that my hard work and scholarly potential is being recognized by outsiders of the NC State community,” he said. “The networking opportunities and connections made will no doubt prove valuable in my post-graduation faculty pursuits.”