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Getting to know: Patty Jackson

Administrative Assistant | Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families


Hallie E. Ford Center Administrative Assistant Patty Jackson came to Oregon State after working for five years at Love INC of Benton County, a local nonprofit devoted to serving disadvantaged and disabled populations in the community. Patty’s husband, Dave Jackson, is executive director of a new nonprofit in Corvallis, Marriage Works. Family Matters. They’re the proud parents of three teenage children. Patty has a B.A. in English Literature/Secondary Education, and much of her past work experiences have involved working with people with physical, emotional and socioeconomic disadvantages. Patty works closely with Endowed Director Rick Settersten and Outreach Coordinator Denise Rennekamp.

Where did you grow up?

“I never quite know how to answer this question because my dad worked for a company that moved us around a lot. I was born in Valencia, Venezuela, lived in Connecticut and New Jersey and spent 15 months in Singapore, traveling around numerous parts of Asia. I landed in Corvallis in 1992 and feel very much at home here.”

Why did you want to work in the CPPHS at the Hallie Ford Center?

“The news about the Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families caught my eye early on before the building was even built and before I came to OSU. I was intrigued that a whole building would be built around such a concept as research focused on promoting healthy children and families, and that really resonated with me. On lunch breaks in the winter during my first position at OSU, I would often come to the Hallie Ford Center and enjoy a good book on one of the comfy living room style chairs. Not only is the mission of the center engaging to me, but the building itself is so warm and inviting. I jumped at the chance to be part of an environment that had already captured my interests and promotes the development and well-being of children, youth and families.”

What is your favorite part about working at the Hallie Ford Center?

“I find that the research cores in the center are very relevant to my life as a mother of three teenage children — especially the studies pertaining to the healthy development of adolescents and young adults and parenting. My second favorite thing is the people — the faculty, staff and students in the center are absolutely great, and I love hearing about their research and interests. Thirdly, did I already mention how beautiful the building is? It’s hard not to be drawn in to the natural lighting, open atrium and beautiful design of the building itself.”

What do you hope to achieve in your role?


“Because the Hallie Ford Center and my position are relatively new, there is a lot of learning about how the center can best interface with the community and how my part as an administrative assistant can help achieve that goal. I love the challenge of being put in a new position and seeing how it can grow and what it can become. I want to be able to represent the center and OSU as best I can. This means absorbing and understanding the work that is done within these walls so I can explain it well to others and know how to better promote that work both within the university and the greater community as well. Also, everyone working here is incredibly busy teaching, mentoring and researching. I want to be as much a support to them as possible so they can be freed up to focus on the things I can’t do and that they do best.”

Describe something unique about your job that most people wouldn’t know?

“Most people are not aware of the number of events hosted in this building — there were well over 200 events last year. I manage the schedule for these events and have the opportunity to meet all kinds of people from all over campus and the community.”

What is the best advice you ever received, and who gave it?

“When life starts getting you down, just eat a piece of dark chocolate and things will start looking better (And dark chocolate is supposed to be healthy for you, too!) I’m not sure where I first heard that, but I always make sure I have dark chocolate on hand . . . just in case.”

What advice would you like to give to students and young alums?

“There is a lot of pressure in the world of academia — in fact in the world in general — to be successful. Success can look like different things to different people. So I guess I would share this quote I have posted in my office from Ralph Waldo Emerson; ‘To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition: to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.’”

What are your favorite activities to do outside of work?

“I love being outdoors and active — taking walks with my dog, biking, gardening, hiking — especially at Mt. Rainier.”