MSU Anthropology Undergraduate Spotlight: Senior Jackson Schooley

“I’ve made life-long friends that I have met in my Anthropology classes,” said senior Jackson Schooley, who graduated May 2022 with a degree in Anthropology. A lifelong learner of language and people, Jackson found the human-centric discipline in the MSU Department of Anthropology to be a perfect marriage of his interests.

“Anthropology gives us a unique role to play in the fight against injustices: one characterized by empathy, curiosity, and a deep understanding of the ways contemporary issues intersect with other aspects of our lives and identities.”

Schooley sees his major as a tool that can help address the things that affect people across the planet. 

“It’s a way to understand the diversity of the world and a vital medium to connect, study, and analyze different ways to mitigate issues we are seeing and experiencing now,” he said. 

During his time at MSU, Schooley’s favorite class he took was ANP 420, Anthropology of Language and Culture, with Professor Chantal Tetreault. This class focuses on the ways in which languages influence our worldviews and the cultural context of languages. 

“I think the format of the classes, which are discussion based, collaborative, etc., truly lets you make connections with really cool people.”

As an undergraduate research assistant, Schooley worked under Dr. Emilio Moran researching Michigan’s aging dam infrastructure and its ties to economics and climate resilience, along with issues of energy injustice within the state. He worked in the position for three and a half years exploring the realm of community energy, advocating for local marginalized communities and writing articles to be published in journals. 

“I truly feel as though my efforts and time in this position have contributed to making this world a more just place- which is always the ultimate goal of my work.” 

The MSU Department of Anthropology selected Schooley as the 2022 outstanding graduating senior. 

“Jackson is the most promising and best prepared undergraduate in sociocultural anthropology I have met during my time at MSU,” Dr. Lucero Radonic said,  Associate Professor of Anthropology and nominator for the award. “He is a brilliant young scholar and a kind student with a disposition towards collective learning in class.”

After his graduation, Schooley will have an internship in sustainability management for the City of Lansing. Upon its conclusion, he has a goal of going into policy work, strengthening the preexisting texts and “introducing new, more comprehensive, and intersectionality-cognizant policy that is aimed at increasing climate resilience in infrastructure.” After a few years in the job market, he plans on attending graduate school to further his training and better prepare himself to support the causes he believes need help on a larger scale.

“My advice to those considering Anthropology is to not worry about what other people’s perceptions of this discipline are and its applicability to career options/success- this discipline can prepare you for a plethora of fields/environments,” he said. “As long you have that drive and urge to contribute to making this world a better place for all, I’m certain you will feel as though you made the right choice.” 
To learn more about the MSU department of Anthropology visit