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October 26, 2023

Jackson goes global

Jackson to attend University of Edinburgh for linguistics
Nyah Rama
Coppell senior Leon Jackson is committed to the University of Edinburgh, the fifth-ranked school globally for their chosen major: linguistics. Jackson hopes to become a diplomat.

A bright blue notification pops up on the screen of Coppell High School senior Leon Jackson’s Macbook. The subject heading: University of Edinburgh.

With sweaty palms and baited breath, Jackson opens the email, awaiting the school’s decision. 

“Congratulations! You’ve been accepted!” flashes across the screen. Jackson sits eyes wide, overjoyed at the thought of having gotten into their dream school.

“I was very nervous about not getting in because a lot of their International Baccalaureate (IB) requirements to get into certain majors were very high,” Jackson said. “Some of the application process to get into schools abroad is that they give you a conditional offer where your acceptance is based off of your exam scores at the end of your two years in IB, so I was really worried I’d receive a conditional offer from Edinburgh that I would not be able to meet.”

The University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland is ranked fifth globally for linguistics, which happens to be Jackson’s major.

“I was looking at some research opportunities at the university because I know they are renowned for their research involving linguistics,” Jackson said. “They have done a multitude of studies so that might be something I pursue after I get my undergraduate degree.”

Jackson’s interest in Edinburgh does not solely rely on its linguistics program. With family ties and memories attached to the university, acceptance to Edinburgh is something Jackson has dreamed of.

“When I was a sophomore, I went to visit my cousin in Edinburgh who is graduating this year with their chemistry degree,” Jackson said. “They snuck me into the campus and let me get a personal tour and I loved the campus. I love the atmosphere of the city and I did some research when I got back and I thought that that was the school for me.”

With this goal in mind, Jackson joined the IB program. It is here where Jackon began to find their love for languages.

“I like to think of Leon as the quintessential IB student,” CHS IB English IV teacher Richard Orlopp said. “Their level of attention to detail is what really impresses me about Leon. Leon loves languages, but they also pay attention to all subjects which you don’t always see because a lot of people at Coppell have their subject they like and then they ignore everything or kind of do it, but Leon goes all in.” 

While the path to Scotland was always clear, what Jackson hoped to study was not. Initially wanting to major in psychology, Jackson did not settle on linguistics until their senior year.

“During my junior year, I changed from wanting to look at psychology majors to international relations,” Jackson said. “This year with getting more into my passion for languages and learning how languages work, I decided on linguistics to be my major. It started off as my second choice major where international relations was my first choice and then it developed into the major that I really wanted to pursue.”

Jackson’s passion for languages is evident in everything they do. From taking night classes in Korean at Dallas College to speaking Spanish with their fellow employees at J. Macklin’s Grill, Jackson incorporates language into every aspect of their life. It is that dedication to their passion that teachers, students and parents alike admire about Jackson.

“They’re like a horse with blinders, once they see what they want their focus is driven toward completing that goal,” Leon’s father Jeffrey Jackson said. “They’ve always been up for a challenge ever since they were 7-years-old. They competed competitively [in gymnastics] up until age 14 and that instilled a lot of their drive. They’ve been adulting for a while.”

Leon’s love of language is symbolic of who they are as a person. Organized, structured and meticulous, Leon’s passion is fitting for their personality.

“Some of the interest I had in linguistics is how I personally interpret my thoughts and articulate them for other people to hear and to interpret as well,” Leon said. “I really like the grammar and structure of languages. It’s the way that humans connect with each other, speak to each other and articulate our thoughts to other people.”

A degree in linguistics provides Leon with boundless career options. Though they hope to become a diplomat, Leon stays open to all the future opportunities their field can provide.

“I want to foster the connections between other people because we all have our own unique personalities, our unique way of thinking, way of life, way of perceiving the world and I think sharing that with each other is invaluable,” Leon said.

Follow Nyah (@nyah_rama) and @CHSCampusNews on X.

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About the Contributor
Nyah Rama
Nyah Rama, CHS9 Editor
Nyah is a junior and the CHS9 editor for The Sidekick. Although she was inspired by Rory from Gilmore Girls at 9 years old, Nyah’s journey in the school newspaper and journalism started when she won Writer of the Week during a journalism summer camp. Outside of writing for The Sidekick, Nyah is also an editor for the magazine TaHB, which focuses on topics and events in the science and medical field. When not working on a story for The Sidekick, struggling through IB classes, or editing for TaHB magazine, Nyah enjoys critiquing reality TV with her friends over FaceTime, listening to female rap artists such as Cardi B, Saweetie and Latto, and keeping up with her football team, the New York Jets. As a proud New Jerseyan, born and raised for 5 years, Nyah attributes her opinionated personality to her Jersey origin. She loves everything about the American Northeast: people’s aggressive attitudes and aggression, and the busy city lifestyle. To discuss Patrick Mahomes’ football career, share opinions on reality TV characters, or discuss rap culture, you can contact Nyah by email at [email protected] or on Instagram (@nyah_rama).    

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