Sertoma Scholarship Winner Hears His True Calling

An ambitious scholar, actor and award-winning student overcame his fears so that he could continue to pursue his dream of helping others.

January 12, 2016

As Jackson Maddox showcased his acting skills at Keokuk High School in Keokuk, Iowa, his nervous butterflies began to flutter rapidly. Stage fright, and opening night jitters tend to be relatively common and natural feelings for performers.

Ideally, all performers want to see their long hours of preparation and hard work shine through on show night. Jackson, despite his significant hearing loss, and nerves, was always determined to do his absolute best on stage regardless of the circumstances.

His ambitious personality, and determination, eventually became the biggest reasons why Jackson Maddox was selected to receive the Hard of Hearing Deaf Scholarship from Sertoma in 2012-2013. Initially, one of the biggest reasons Jackson joined the Speech and Drama Club in high school, was so that he could confront his communication fears head on. He participated in plays throughout his high school career, and eventually, was able to overcome his stage fright and fear of public speaking.

Jackson also became a participant in annual competitions conducted by the Iowa High School Speech Association. This is where he earned recognition as a State Qualifier, and Division 1 Winner in Public Address every year. Throughout his experiences, Jackson learned to speak clearly, concisely and confidently. Eventually, he was selected to be the narrator of a play in his high school, which was a very big honor for any student. Although his theatre accomplishments were monumental, Jackson was not satisfied, and proceeded to pursue even more of his aspirations.

With the scholarship provided by Sertoma, Jackson was able to attend school at Iowa State University in the fall of 2012. He entered as a first year honor student with 40 college credit hours that he impressively earned in high school. Jackson is currently pursuing a dual bachelor’s degree in Science, and Master of Science in Computer Science.

In addition, he is also one of nine undergraduate students taking part in the Iowa State University Laboratory for Molecular Programming.

Jackson’s ultimate goal in furthering his education is to create and improve computer programs that will benefit the deaf and hard of hearing. Jackson is just one of hundreds of talented recipients of the Hard of Hearing Deaf Scholarship, which is supported by Sertoma’s Annual Fund.




  • Susan Maddox says:

    Jackson Maddox graduated with Honors (Summa Cum Laude) getting his Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics from Iowa State University on Saturday, December 17, 2017. He is now a Graduate Student at Iowa State University in pursuit of his Masters of Science Degree in Computer Science.

    • Susan Maddox says:

      Correction December 17, 2016. If everything goes as planned he will receive his MS in CS this December.

  • Harvey Rhinehart says:

    Please donate to the Sertoma Annual Fund so we can help more of the Jackson’s with Deaf & Hard of Hearing Scholarships.

  • John Kelly says:

    We all can learn from and be encouraged by this young man.

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