Alumni Profiles: Jackson Roland '09, Display Exploration Engineer at Apple
The passions and professions of our alumni represent the lasting impact of our school’s mission statement. Read on to see how Jackson Roland '09 is using is talents to the fullest to be a positive contributor to society.
Tell us a little bit about your journey since graduating from Ensworth. I graduated from Ensworth in 2009 and attended Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. It was the only school I applied to and applied as Early Decision. My undergraduate degree was in Imaging and Photographic Technology, which combined photography with computer technology. After graduation, my first job was at a small software company called Imatest in Boulder, Colorado, where I worked for three years. While there, I worked on imaging technology as well as international standards development. I was part of the PC42 group, IEEE P1858 that was published a few years ago. I was able to make wonderful connections in the industry and was eventually recruited to join Apple in 2016. The past three years, I have been on the Display Incubation Team at Apple, which is responsible for exploring and developing new technologies and features focused on displays.
How did Ensworth help prepare you for college and beyond? Before I attended Ensworth, I was homeschooled. Ensworth helped me learn how to better connect with individuals and grow socially. Ensworth fosters learning in a way that works for a variety of students, and the Harkness tables encouraged interactive discussions rather than lectures, which is something I find especially valuable.
What are some lessons you have learned in the past year that you will continue to use/apply moving forward? I’ve learned a few things about myself through the experiences of the past year. First, I do not like working from home. I now have a greater appreciation of the positive energy that comes from being in a work environment with other people in the sense that you can bounce ideas off one another, rely on one another, grow from one another…the list goes on. It is critical to have other perspectives available in the technology industry. Ultimately, the people I work with are amazing, and I appreciate being able to leverage the talents of those individuals.
What advice would you give to a young alum who is interested in a career in Technology? I am currently a mentor with a program at Apple that is an Engineering Technology Camp, where we bring in high school students from across the country for one month of learning about intensive technology. The most important characteristics of an engineer are curiosity and an interest in solving problems. You need to have a go-getter instinct instead of sitting back and letting someone else figure out a solution. Having the mindset to be curious, take on the challenge, and learn how to solve problems well. Lastly, when you are job searching, don’t only apply for the jobs that you think you are qualified for, because half the time people who are hiring (especially in the technical engineering roles) don’t even know exactly what they are looking for. If you prove your worth, they will find a job for you.
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