Geralka “Gerri” Jackson continues to represent Grambling State University as she was featured in the September issue of Ebony.
Jackson was one of 10 HBCU campus queens voted nationally to be featured in “Crowning Glory.”
“It’s an honor to be able to continue to represent my alma mater on a national level even after I’ve graduated,” said Jackson in a press release by the university.
Grambling’s president lauded her for setting a good example. “Our own Miss Grambling State University has represented us well during 2012-2013,” said Dr. Frank G. Pogue. “And now all of America will see how poised, smart and talented Gerri is as they learn more about her in Ebony and on ebony.com.”
Jackson, a Monroe native, graduated in May 2013 with a degree in Mass Communication. She represented the university as Miss Grambling State University in the most recent academic year, 2012-2013. In fact she was the first to run for the position unopposed.
Jackson had to compete with more than 80 others from around the nation, including the queen from GSU’s in-state rival, Miss Southern University, Erin Rogers.
The queens were required to create a compelling video biography for the monthlong competition to seek support from voters, and the videos were posted on ebony.com.
Jackson wanted her video to “catch the audience’s attention in the first 10 seconds.”
With the help of Alan Blakeney, the director of Grambling’s Television Center, she captured the attention of thousands with her warm smile, dedication to empowering people and love for Grambling.
The former Miss GSU and others encouraged supporters to vote online on Ebony‘s website, often and even daily, for their favorite HBCU queen. Jackson made the cut to the top 15 campus queens and voting continued. After a month, voting ended and the results were undisclosed until the magazine hit the newsstand.
“It was a surreal moment to see all those designer gowns and outfits specifically for me,” said the former queen as she remembers the details of the official Ebony photo-shoot.
She recalls 12 hours of “superstar treatment” and professionalism from the entire staff. In addition to a great networking opportunity, Jackson said it was a great chance to catch up with campus queens she met at The Kings and Queens conference in Memphis, Tenn. The convention was the summer before the academic year of her reign. It was a weeklong convention that she and her royal court attended to be better prepared for their rigorous, community-involved year.
Jackson describes the funniest moment of the photo-shoot was when she, Miss Jackson State University Sarah Brown, and Miss Tougaloo College Destiny Kyles joined forces and performed the movements from BeyoncÃ©’s song “Single Ladies.” She said everyone was shocked that they knew the entire dance and they received a standing ovulation.
Jackson was a decorated student at Grambling State University with her involvement with several organization, 3.5 G.P.A. and apart of the university’s esteemed Earl Lester Cole Honors College.
Dr. Pogue describes Jackson as a “stellar student (and) an articulate and well-spoken representative.”
Jackson currently works as an admissions recruiter and counselor at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.
“Being chosen as a top HBCU Campus Queen is a wonderful way to end my tenure at Grambling State University,” said Jackson in a press release. “Hopefully the feature can be used as a way to recruit new students.”
Jackson is pleased to be the first queen to represent the university in Ebony magazine. “(This) gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of people and build connections,” she added. “The entire experience is something most people won’t get a chance to do.”