Meet Jack Jacobson '00
Legislative analyst and
Washington, D.C., State Board of Education president
— gov't & int'l affairs/political science major
Q. How did you choose Augustana?
A. Augustana gave me the opportunity to be an active member of the student body in a way a large school could not, and the financial assistance I received at a time when my family needed help the most sealed the deal.
Life at Augie
Q. Favorite class and why?
A. "International Law" with Dr. Joe Dondelinger. "International Law" was a challenging course that helped me understand how and why laws are created. What made it even more enjoyable was that international law was (and still is) being developed. It was a fascinating course.
Q. Favorite professor and why?
A. Dr. Dondelinger. He was incredibly passionate about his work and really appreciated differing viewpoints from his students.
Q. Best Augie memory?
A. Theater. Acting in plays at Augustana gave me an opportunity to develop public speaking skills and to get to know other students I remain friends with to this day.
Q. Tell us about your journey after graduating from Augustana – first job, grad school, travel, etc.
A. My last semester enrolled at Augustana I was living in Washington and interning at a top-five lobbying firm that hired me as Director of Research once my internship concluded. Around 2005 I finally realized that I would live in DC for the rest of my life, and became an active volunteer and leader in my community, which eventually led me to elective office in 2008 and later to the State Board of Education in 2012.
Q. Tell us about your career – what’s an average day like?
A. I’m an energy and environmental lobbyist at one of the largest law firms in the world. I tend to represent companies and organizations that are involved with cutting edge research, development, and deployment of better and more environmentally friendly technologies.
Q. Greatest challenges and best rewards of your current role?
A. My day job is great, and I get to work with amazingly talented attorneys and professionals from around the world, and I spend my days solving problems for my clients, either at federal agencies or the U.S. Congress. Every day is a new challenge to work through, and at the end of the day, I’ve helped mold public policies that will benefit the country for a generation or more.
Q. Greatest professional accomplishment thus far?
A. In January, I was elected by my fellow members of the State Board of Education to serve as President of the Board. DC has nearly 225 public and public charter school campuses serving almost 83,000 students, many of whom are disadvantaged in one way or another. Serving on the Board, and specifically as President of the Board, allows me to do my part to make the city a better place, and to ensure the next generation of Washingtonians is ready to act as global citizens.
Q. What’s next for you professionally?
A. Who knows? Elective office can be unpredictable, but I’ll continue to serve my constituents to the best of my ability while I have the opportunity to do so. I hope to move into the education sector full-time once my service on the Board of Education is complete.
Q. If you could offer a prospective or existing Augie student some advice, what would you say?
A. Every single Augustana student should study abroad. Do it, and do not regret the expense. This is the time in your life when you have the opportunity to see the world and fall in love with an international city while creating friendships with diverse people that will last a lifetime.
Q. What’s given you the greatest personal satisfaction since graduating from Augie? And why?
A. Community service has allowed me to support and uplift individuals across DC. The times when I’ve had the most fun in life is when I’ve served as a volunteer, activist, or public servant. It’s my opportunity to give back and work to make the world a better place.
Q. A foundation for life at Augustana begins with our five core values – Christian Faith, Liberal Arts, Excellence, Community and Service. How did your time at Augustana help to ensure those values remain central in your life?
A. The professors and staff at Augustana expected the best from all of its students and they took pride in our success. That helped solidify the work ethic instilled in me by my parents. Augustana also gave me a global perspective that helped me realize that even though I was from a small town, I could make a big impact on my community and on other people’s lives. Every day I try to do just that.