Matt: Where do you go to school, and what grade are you?
Jackie: I go to the University of Notre Dame, and I’m a junior.
Matt: Where are you from?
Jackie: I’m from Michigan City, Indiana.
Matt: How did you get interested in autism?
Jackie: I have a younger brother, William, who’s 14 now, and he was diagnosed with autism back when he was 3 ½ or 4, and that’s what really first got me interested.
Matt: Do you have any plans for after you graduate?
Jackie: After I graduate, I have plans of going to law school and actually working in disability law.
Matt: Why are you helping out with Green Bridge Growers?
Jackie: I’m here as part of my class, the autism practicum course that I’m taking, these are hours that are required for the class. But aside from that, I think that just because people are born with some difficulties doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve the same rights and respect that other people do who don’t have those issues. So I think you need to fight for those people and what they want.
Matt: What hobbies do you enjoy?
Jackie: This is going to sound really nerdy, but I just really like reading. I love reading books in my free time, which I don’t get a lot of free time ‘cause I’m at school.
Matt: What’s a typical day for you as a Notre Dame student?
Jackie: Well, this semester, Mondays and Wednesdays I’ll start my day off by coming here to Hannah & Friends, and I go to class, and probably go grab lunch at some point, I go back to my dorm, I act like I’m going to do my work (laughs) but I really procrastinate, and I end up starting my homework at 9:00 at night, and then I get to bed by, I’d say 2. And then I start all over again.
Matt: What classes do you enjoy the most at school, and what do you like the most about them?
Jackie: My two favorite classes at this point would probably be my autism practicum, which is why I’m here now, I love it so much because it gives me a more clinical look into the diagnosis that my brother’s had for so many years, and I’ve always been interested in that, and my education course, it’s early childhood education and policy, and it’s a class all about, as you would imagine, early childhood policy, how programs like Head Start are federally funded and mandated, and the legal processes that you go through, because I’m interested in going into the legal field, so I really like that class too.
Matt: All of us like to cook together. Did you grow up liking to cook? Do you have any favorite types of cooking or recipes?
Jackie: Oh my gosh...I’ve grown up with cooking all my life, my dad loves cooking, his mother--my grandmother--loves cooking, and I’ve grown up in that family very closely with them, so I’d say my favorite thing to cook was what I used to do when I was much younger when I would stay the night over at my grandparents’ house--my grandma would always have us making cookies, and she loved eating them. And we always thought we were awesome ‘cause she would say our recipe was the best thing in the world. Probably didn’t taste that much better than anything else (laughs), but she tricked us into thinking that it did.
Matt: Do you have any clubs or sports you do at school?
Jackie: I am very non-athletic. I’m probably the most non-athletic person you can meet (laughs), so no sports, but I’m involved in a lot of black student groups on campus, and I’m actually the treasurer of BSA--the Black Student Association at Notre Dame.
Matt: What do you like doing the most during our time together at the GBG greenhouse and Hannah & Friends?
Jackie: Honestly, it doesn’t matter what we’re doing, you guys are fun to hang around and talk with, so any time we’re cooking, it’s always really fun being in the greenhouse. Sometimes the greenhouse can get cold, but being here and being able to talk to you guys and interact with everyone, I really enjoy it, it makes my mornings.