Charlotte, North Carolina, native Jack Watson came to Carolina because he’s a big believer in public education. The University’s rich liberal arts curricula gave him the room to explore and the ability to customize his own unique path.
“The fact that UNC-Chapel Hill is both need blind and meets all demonstrated need has always appealed to me,” Jack explained, “and I wanted to experience a diversity of classes. I knew that Carolina had the best variety of programs.”
Jack received a Carolina Covenant Scholarship which allowed him to participate in a wide range of campus activities.
His interest in student affairs led him to serve as a resident advisor at Granville Towers, and he was elected chief enhancements officer in student government during his first year at Carolina. Jack helped build the stage set for The Crucible during a work study with Carolina PlayMakers, and he enjoys debating as a member of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies.
Ultimately, Jack decided to major in geography because of his interest in the environment.
He also had his first international experience studying abroad in Australia the summer between his sophomore and junior years. He chose Australia because he wanted to gain field experience working on a conservation project. At the field site — a rainforest in Australia — he saw first-hand how the local community was able to influence policy to protect the landscape.
“It made me want to engage in a similar way at home,” Jack recalled, “I am more confident that I want to live and be active in North Carolina, my home state, because I realized the people most able to affect change are the people embedded in the community,”
“I want to make a difference, and I am fundamentally more able to do that in a place that I’m familiar with.”
Jack intends to pursue a career in nature conservation, building on his background in geography and demographic mapping. Immediately after graduation, however, he plans to participate in the Carolina College Advisory Corps, a program that places exceptional recent college graduates on high school campuses to lead low-income and first-generation students to college.
“I want to do something that I know will make a difference. College accessibility is something I’ve cared about for a long time, and the Carolina College Advising Corps is a way that I can stay committed to that passion.”
Jack will graduate from Carolina in spring 2020. Reflecting on his time at Carolina, he said the most important thing he’s learned is that he’s going to be okay.
“I now understand that I don’t have to fix everything. I can focus on my community and build a network of people who work together to make our slice of the world a better place.”