Georgia State University student India Jackson’s journey illustrates the power of community. After facing financial setbacks, she was unsure if she could attend NASA’s distinguished summer internship program, but with the help of supporters across the country, she was able to bring her dream to fruition, the New York Times reported.
Jackson—who is pursuing her doctorate degree in physics—always had an infatuation with STEM. As a youngster the Decatur native was immersed in science. Through a program at the Fernbank Science Center she spent many days at the planetarium learning about astronomy. Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree in math from Georgia State University in 2010. She went on to earn her master’s degree three years later and in 2017 she enrolled in the doctorate program.
When Jackson discovered that she had been accepted into NASA’s internship program she was ecstatic, but the feeling of overjoy slowly diminished after the single mother realized that she couldn’t afford to go. The stipend provided by NASA wouldn’t cover the cost of travel and other expenses for her and her daughter. Jackson’s cousin Dasha Fuller was determined to ensure that she could take advantage of the opportunity so she launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds that would cover the costs.
“This is a lifelong dream of hers and a long time coming and I am very proud of her. Unfortunately, she is unable to attend. India is a single mother and a struggling graduate student, so money is tight,” read the page. “This is yet another example of how poverty-stricken students of color are left out, left behind, or miss out on life-changing opportunities. You must have money in order to get ahead in this country. She worked hard for this opportunity and I don’t want to see all of her lifelong work gone to waste due to financial hardship.” The campaign goal of $8,000 was surpassed within 24 hours.
On May 30, Jackson and her daughter will head to Houston so that she can participate in the internship program at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. She is beyond thankful that she can fulfill this lifelong dream through the help of others. “It really caught me off guard. It was amazing and it was overwhelming, and I was just blown away,” she told WSB-TV. “I’m just blessed enough to be living in a time where everything is technology-driven, and this GoFundMe account was able to reach people around the world in order to help my cause.”