Student Spotlight: Jackson Ness

Photo Credit: Student Spotlight: Jackson Ness
Wed, 10/18/2023 - 12:35

Major: Anthropology

Minors: Environmental Studies, Archaeology, and Art History
Hometown: Denver, Colorado

Year: Junior

Favorite book and why?
I am going to pick two because there is nothing stopping me from doing that. First I would say is Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh. There’s really no way for me to describe this book, it is an incredibly weird read, and sometimes it feels like things you should not be reading, but it’s really engaging and you won’t want to stop reading. Another one is No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai. I read this whole book in one sitting instead of studying for my finals last year. It’s pretty self explanatory, the title suggests the general plot. It’s about a man who doesn’t believe he qualifies as a human, it’s a pretty quick read, but I think it’s a really fascinating insight into the alienation people feel, and how life can float past you if you don’t accept it.

Favorite movie and why?
My favorite movie is the 1982 Blade Runner. This has been my favorite movie since sometime in high school and I don’t think that will change anytime soon. There is something about the soundtrack and the whole aesthetic of the movie that I just love, and the plot is really open ended and leaves you a lot to think about. In the Directors or Final cut the movie and ending is perfect, and it’s up to the audience to decide what happened. The sequel ruins this ending so I am bitter about it so if you watch this movie wait a while before watching the sequel so you can come to your own conclusions of what happens and what it’s all really about.

Why Anthropology?
When I was a kid I had an unhealthy obsession with Indiana Jones, and in my Sophomore year I took an Intro to Archaeology class for fun because I thought it might remind me of something I think of fondly. Apparently I underestimated this I ended up feeling like I was eight years old again and in the span of a few weeks of the class decided to completely change my major and career pursuits. I was an Environmental Studies major before switching to the dark side so I decided to keep it on as a minor because it’s still something I am passionate about. I have always been interested in creating and learning about art, so I added on the art history because I had some credit hours to spare. With all of these I genuinely just get to learn about all of my major interests and geek out when I find ways to connect human culture to the environment and to art.

Favorite course?
My favorite classes are honestly completely unrelated to my major. I have taken Professor Yaroslav Komarovski’s classes on Tibetan Buddhism and History of Buddhism and have found it incredibly fascinating to take. Professor Komarovski absolutely adores what he teaches and even if you don’t enjoy a lecture heavy class with lots of notes his personality can make up for that. I also try to take at least one class a year where I work with my hands, and Printmaking for Non-majors and the Anthropology Fieldwork class with Professor Wandsnider. These classes will have you up at weird hours and spending a lot more time than you’d think doing hard work, but I think it feels really fulfilling to learn with your hands. My advice in general is to try to take as many classes for fun as you can, there is always more leeway in your credit hours than you would think. I am for sure biased but I would recommend taking really any Anthropology class that sounds like fun. Even if you don’t find that it’s something you’re passionate about, understanding how people work and culture operates can help you with any field you could go into.

Extracurricular Experiences:
I’m going to be studying abroad in Graz, Austria in the spring, and I am very excited to be in a location where I can travel to a half dozen countries for dirt cheap, and to acquire large amounts of information from the friends I meet about their lives and culture. I think that studying abroad can feel inaccessible to a lot of students, but UNL actually makes it super feasible. There are dozens of scholarships that a lot of people don’t apply to so they are essentially guaranteed, making it not hard to get thousands of dollars to help pay for the experience. UCARE is another program I highly recommend. It allows undergrad students to have a paid research internship with a UNL faculty member. There is something for every major or interest on the website. The website can be a little confusing at first, but I found a lot of help from faculty with getting everything set up.

I am currently working with Heather Richards-Rissetto on updating the Kruger Collection, a collection of miniatures that at some point in the future will have an exhibit up for view. I am digitizing and recreating one of Eloise Kruger’s diorama’s, and helping to create the steps that future classes will use during work with the collection. It’s been a lot of fun and it’s felt super fulfilling to do something that I know will benefit people after me.

Post-Graduation Plans:
My graduation plans are very up in the air, and depending what the next year and a half holds they might change. I am planning to go into professional archaeology straight out the gate, and if an opportunity arises in a behind the scenes position at an art museum I may take it. At some point I would like to go back to school to get my masters in either Anthropology or Art History, and be able to further pursue my passions in a career.