La Salle psychology student aims to help others with goal of becoming a therapist

April 24, 2024

Ivy-yon Jackson, ’24

Ivy-yon Jackson, ’24, is a psychology and sociology major with a minor in criminal justice at La Salle. Outside of the classroom, the Philadelphia native works as a multimedia artist (@ivys.creationz on Instagram) and co-founded an art program. 

As Jackson prepares to receive her diploma at 2024 Commencement, she shares what being an Explorer means to her.  

Why did you choose La Salle? 

I started at La Salle in 2020. Being in the pandemic, remaining close to my family was extremely important to me. La Salle is located about a mile from home and allowed me to commute.  

What will you remember most about your La Salle experience? 

I will remember the engaging discussions that took place in my classes. Hearing other people’s perspectives permitted me to look at certain topics differently.  

What hurdles did you have to overcome to achieve this degree, and how did you overcome them?  

The biggest hurdle for me was cost. I did not want to take out any loans, so I worked and used most of what I made to cover tuition. My family was not able to contribute substantially to my education. When I did not have enough to cover textbooks, I received support from the Single Stop program. These actions combined will allow me to graduate without debt.  

Tell us about the professor who supported you the most. 

The professor who supported me the most was Sheldon Zink, Ph.D., sociology and criminal justice assistant professor.  Dr. Zink is a phenomenal person and instructor. She is knowledgeable and passionate.   

My success at La Salle is thanks to the continued support and guidance of Dr. Zink during some of my lowest moments. She has connected me to several valuable resources and continues to check in with me, showing a genuine interest in my life, inside and outside of my role as a student. 

Who else acted as mentor(s) to you? 

Student Support and Equity Director Serita Reels, MPH, also played an instrumental role in my success. Any time issues arose for me, she was happy and willing to find a solution. During my time at La Salle, I shared a lot with her. She remembered the details and asked for updates on them anytime we spoke.  

Please tell us about a proud moment you’ve had while being enrolled. Why is it one of your greatest achievements?  

My greatest accomplishment is co-founding an art program. It is called the Young Artist Program, which offers a safe and nurturing youth-led space for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ identifying youth, ages 14-25 in Philly. We help students learn and grow by facilitating community-building art workshops, providing access to art supplies and resources. Students are given opportunities to engage with activism, through art making. During my time at La Salle, I moved into a teaching artist role in the program, in addition to helping to grow our team. This is my greatest accomplishment because I share identities with the youth this program serves. I understand what it is like to exist in a world that is not always safe, so it means a lot to me to be able to provide a space that is. We operate as a nonprofit, and are funded completely by grants and donations. 

To connect with the program, people can follow the organization on Instagram (@theyoungartistprogram) or visit the website,  

What does graduating mean to you?  

Graduating, especially with a 4.0, means a lot to me. It is a monumental step forward in a life that I did not believe I would be around to experience. Up until age 18, when I started therapy, I was suicidal. Graduating moves me closer to my goal of becoming a therapist, and being able to provide a service to others that literally saved my life.  

What is your next step after graduation?  

Immediately after graduation, I am taking a gap year. During the year, I plan to volunteer and join community-based organizations. I will also continue the work being done at the Young Artist Program. After my gap year, I will get a master’s degree in psychology, and hopefully begin my career as a therapist.  

What does La Salle mean to you? 

To me, La Salle means connection. I connected with a lot of amazing people and met people who will be life-long friends during my time here.