Lt. Cmdr. Mike Jackson, attached to Navy Recruiting District Houston, spoke with high school students July 12, at the Aviation Sciences and Technology Center at Texas Southern University.
The students, who were attending an aviation summer camp, listened to Jackson as he offered advice, shared personal stories and talked about aviation opportunities in the Navy.
Jackson then attended a youth fly-in July 13, at Ellington Field in Houston. Here he quizzed attendees on Naval history, shared his experiences and answered aviation questions from interested kids while they waited their turn to fly above Houston.
Jackson said that he relishes any opportunity to speak with students.
"This is my way of giving back," he said. "This is my chance to encourage youth to do what I do. Being an aviator is the most fun thing I have ever done. Nothing beats flying, landing on an aircraft carrier, in the dark, with night-vision goggles on."
The speaking engagement allowed for military and commercial pilots to interact with the students.
"It is wonderful to have experienced pilots come in and talk to these students and explain the opportunities available to them," said Fred Lewis, an instructor at the camp.
Jackson said many students are unaware of the opportunities they have while he explained Navy scholarships and aviation programs.
"Most students are unaware or have a lack of knowledge about the wonderful programs and scholarships the Navy has in place," said Jackson.
Jackson then shared his personal story about how he utilized a Navy scholarship to attain a mechanical engineering degree from Prairie View A&M and eventually pursue a career in aviation.
"I had absolutely zero aviation experience when I started my journey," he said. "I was afraid of heights, but I thought to myself you only live once and I need to take advantage of opportunities when they are presented."
Jackson closed his speech by challenging the students, "Most people won't be able to fathom the things you will be able to do. Do you have what it takes to take that first step?"
For more news from Naval Recruiting District Houston, visit www.navy.mil/local/nrdh/.