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“Destined to Be Here,” Graduating Senior Contributes His Academic Success to Upbringing

Joshua Jackson throwing a graduation cap into the air while standing outside in front of the Laie, Hawaii temple.
Photo by Anaïs Fry

Joshua Jackson, a senior double-majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, grew up in Semarang, Indonesia. His small family of four were the only members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in his community and the surrounding areas. This experience of "living in his own little bubble" was positive, as it taught him to hold firm to his standards and values. He also grew up following in his older brother's footsteps, trailing five years behind him in experiences such as serving a full-time mission and attending Brigham Young University–Hawaii.

In addition to following his sibling's example, the cultures and diversity within the student body at BYU–Hawaii also led him to pursue higher education here, stating, "I've always felt destined to be here, that BYU–Hawaii was always part of my journey." However, determining his academic path was not as easy as he imagined. Initially, upon beginning his degree, Jackson was going to pursue the study of medicine to become a doctor. However, he eventually learned that specific career path was not meant for him and shifted his focus to biochemistry. In doing so, Jackson could continue to study the passions he had developed for anatomy and research.

Joshua Jackson standing in graduation gown outside in front of the campus flag circle.
Photo by Anaïs Fry

When reflecting on people who've impacted his life while being here, he acknowledges Professor Georgi Lukov as someone he sees as a great educator and example. His mentorship led Jackson to crucial self-discovery moments that have shaped his outlook on academic studies and life pursuits. Lukov has also boosted Jackson's confidence, as he explained this field of study is challenging and may be less popular than others but encouraged him to keep moving forward with what he's passionate about. He also thanks the university for providing numerous service opportunities that have added to his character and values. Encouraging students to get involved sooner than later by saying, "don't be scared to explore new things."

In sharing his takeaways, Jackson suggests that students use their time well and states, "you'll never have the same opportunity twice." He also encourages them by saying, "be patient with your errors, as we often learn better from mistakes." With closing advice that carries the most personal sense, for students to attend the house of the Lord while studying at BYU–Hawaii—explaining that his temple service was a great opportunity that furthered his relationship with God at a pivotal time in his life.

Awaiting the news of a potential internship in Utah, Jackson believes that the Lord will continue to lead him using President Thomas S. Monson's quote, "your future is as bright as your faith," as inspiration. In the meantime, he's deciding between three options of universities to pursue more education. His ultimate goal is to become a research professor and teach somewhere in the United States or back home in Indonesia.