A proud graduate of Penn State University where she received a degree in kinesiology, Nakia Jackson-Hale came to UNLV in 2001. She served simultaneously as head cheer coach and as director of programs for the UNLV International Gaming Institute before moving to the Boyd School of Law in 2015. Among her achievements at the law school has been bringing a diverse and illustrious array of speakers to campus.
The last big project you completed and how you celebrated/decompressed afterward
I consider my last big project to be the whole spring semester! It was action-packed with lots of great events at the law school. I decompressed by taking my daughter to England for 10 days to visit my sister and her family.
The biggest misconception about your job
I think people often don’t understand or realize all of the detail and moving parts when it comes to executing events. It definitely is not as easy as it looks. I have to work with all of the stakeholders, and depending on the scale, it takes quite a bit of work. I also work on more than just events. I work with Dean Hamilton on various special projects to advance the law school and with our alumni.
When you realized campus had changed from the time you arrived
That is actually one of the things that I appreciate about being at UNLV; the school continues to evolve. I can’t say that there is one defining moment that I noticed change. However, because I have been here for 18 years, I have seen a lot of people come and go.
A moment in life for which you would like a “do-over”
Ahhhhhh! There are so many! What I can say is that despite the direction my life journey has traveled, I am in a good place in my life. I have learned a lot and my actions are more thought-out and directed.
Advice you would give your younger self
Take your time to explore life. Don’t put timelines on life events that you might later regret.
Best three-month stretch of the year
I’m conflicted. I like summer because I have the time and opportunity to get caught up and recharge my batteries. However, I also like the fall because you can actually spend time outside for extended periods
If you weren’t working at UNLV, where you would be
I would probably be working for a tech company because I love gadgets and technology or with a law enforcement agency. Both areas never crossed my mind in college and I have a passion and curiosity for both areas now.
My ideal summer vacation
Is anything that has to do with the beach. That is my happy place! However, the funny part of that is that I don’t really like going in the water; I just like to take in the scenery and the sounds.
What’s on your plate for the next few days/weeks?
Work front — Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be working with my law school colleagues to make sure that we have everything in place for our fall events that have been scheduled. We like to plan in advance as much as we are able so that we aren’t flooded with things that we could have taken care of earlier.
Personal front — I am going to get a head start on reading as I will be starting the master of science in emergency and crisis management. I will also try to fit a couple more trips in before the semester gets going.
Something people would be surprised to learn about you
I also work part time for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department as a fusion watch specialist. This unit is part of the Southern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center and is responsible for crime fighting in real time. We watch all of the cameras located on the Strip, downtown, and in high-crime areas. We also send out notifications related to transportation, crime, intelligence, etc. If you call the “See Something, Say Something” line for Las Vegas, that’s us answering your call.
What was the last book you couldn’t put down, show you binge-watched, or band you kept on replay?
I just started reading White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Dr. Robin DiAngelo. Although it’s not a book geared towards the African American audience, I find the content very interesting because it sheds light from a perspective that I would not know otherwise. But, there are several times that I have found myself nodding in agreement. I hope by the time I am finished with this book, I can have more uncomfortable conversations about race, with diverse audiences in a way that is constructive and productive for all involved.
Your biggest misconception about UNLV or Las Vegas before you arrived
There are two perceptions that I had when I moved here. The first, I think was the same perception that most people have when they visit, that there is no sense of community. Now that I have lived here for what feels like forever, I don’t come to the Strip often. There are so many things to take advantage of in our local communities.
The second perception that hasn’t changed is how transient the people here are. I think if you move here without any connections, it is difficult to meet people and settle into a network of friends. I was lucky to marry into a network. My husband, David, was born and raised in Las Vegas. His circle includes people that he went to elementary school with. I am a military brat so I am incredibly jealous of those relationships.