Mount St. Joseph University

Rachel Jackson Spreads Awareness on Homelessness through Documentary

Academics, Psychology, Psychology

By: Amanda Gratsch

File Under: celebration of teaching and learning, psychology

Senior Psychology major Rachel Jackson, in collaboration with Dr. Tracy McDonough, professor and Department Chair of Psychology, has been working on a documentary and presentation on homelessness through an "Independent Study.” The study was designed by Dr. McDonough to enhance students' strengths, as well as relate to her own qualitative research on schizophrenia.

The documentary consists of parts on homelessness in Cincinnati, how mental illness is related, the role that drugs play, ways to help, and a brief segment about each of the interviewees' organizations. Jackson found this documentary to be a creative outlet to address a topic she is passionate about.

“I chose to do the documentary for my project because I never really get the opportunity to be creative in that way with a lot of the things I have to do,” says Jackson. “Additionally, I'm passionate about encouraging others to be more empathetic towards under-served populations, and I think that's the main message of the video.”

Jackson’s inspiration for this project came from her strong interest in under-served populations, and she become motivated to promote understanding and change of perspective on these populations by educating others on the topic. In addition, she was happy to have the support from Dr. McDonough as well as the Mount’s faculty. “The support from the Mount has come from various professors, especially Dr. McDonough, in encouraging me to pursue the goal.”

When asked about her valuable insights throughout the making of this video, Jackson notes, “It will never be perfect. No matter how many hours I spend editing, I have to come to peace with the fact that I will always find something to fix, and that's okay! I think that's a good metaphor for life. Also, people really enjoy helping people, and I think this is especially true with students. All of the people I interviewed were very willing and reassuring throughout this process.”

After graduation this May, Jackson will attend University of Cincinnati for her doctorate in Educational Studies with a concentration in Educational and Community-Based Action Research, where she will continue her aspirations to promote justice and strengthen communities.

Jackson's documentary will be featured as the Keynote Address during the Mount's annual Celebration of Teaching and Learning, which will take place Thursday, April 20th. Click here to learn more about the Celebration and its events.

And to learn more about earning a degree like Jackson's, visit our Psychology major webpage.