Ashanti Jackson “When my mom died I had to grow up pretty fast. We were very close, and her death made me – more than ever – want to become a doctor.”

It was a shaky beginning for a while there when Ashanti Jackson first got to SMC. “I was just coming out of high school and—with my mother passing at the same time — went through a lot of transitioning, I guess you could say. But since then I’ve settled down and kept my focus on my goals. I’ve realized what I have to do in order to get where I’m going.”

Ashanti’s plan is to transfer to Xavier University in New Orleans and there to become what he's always wanted to be. “Xavier is an historically black college, and they have an excellent science department there. Ninety-two percent of their graduates go into medical and dental schools, so they really know how to prepare you for medicine.”

For Ashanti, becoming a doctor has been a lifelong calling. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be a doctor,” he states. “I’d like to be an internist, or general doctor, because I like the idea of working with families over the years and developing a relationship with them.” One SMC “relationship” of Ashanti’s has fired him up more than ever about medicine.

“Dr. Denise Cavener is a very extraordinary Anatomy teacher that I feel very fortunate to study with,” says Ashanti. “She’s thorough and knows how to break down a lot of complicated concepts so that you have thorough knowledge of them. But the best thing about her is that she’s always willing to meet you and discuss whatever you feel you might need help with.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.