College Knowledge Project

The College Knowledge Project is a college access initiative of the Institutions of Higher Learning in Jackson, Mississippi. The Project is housed in the Office of Academic and Student Affairs and funded by the US DOE College Access Challenge Grant.


Jackson College Knowledge Team

Marsha Watson

“After years of counseling GED students, immigrant students, adult students and traditional students, I find that, more often than not, students interested in pursuing post-secondary education and their families are in need of clear and accurate college planning information, structured but accessible college preparation services, and on-going support that make possible education success for students. This is exactly what we, the College Knowledge project, offer to students and families through our school-based workshops, community outreach, professional development for school staff and the state’s comprehensive college access website:”

Marsha Watson is the College Knowledge Project Director. 

For more information: call 601-432-6177 or email

Lacey Loftin

“I start my college story in High School where I began to realize that if I wanted to go to college I was going to have to wake up. My grades up until then barely got me by so I started to take harder courses and to study to make better grades. I managed to get into Hinds Community College where I blossomed studying History and Political Science. From there, I earned a full-tuition scholarship to Delta State University. I then went on to Arcadia University in Pennsylvania and earned a Masters in Conflict Management.  Finally, I attended Queen’s University in Northern Ireland where I earned a Masters in Law. A rough start but I got there and beyond. Being a part of this project, teaching kids about college via technology, is my way of helping others to find their way to college.”

Lacey Loftin is the Special Projects Manager for the College Knowledge Project. She is responsible for what you see on the website from text content and features to database administration and marketing.

Southwest College Knowledge Team

Natalie Noble

Southwest College Knowledge Team

“With moral support from family and financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Scholarship program, I attended Howard University in Washington, DC for my undergraduate degree.  My undergraduate experience was filled with various obstacles, adjusting to city life, holidays away from home, struggling to keep my car on campus, financial aid, etc. Homesick and overwhelmed by the cultural melting pot in the nation’s capital, I was determined to relocate back to the southern region.  I decided to increase my course load, attend summer school, and focus hard so that I could complete my degree in 3 years rather than 4. I went on to pursue a Master’s degree from Texas Southern University in Houston, TX. I returned to Natchez, taught biology, transitioned into academic counseling and decided to pursue my passion of helping youth in my community by founding a non-profit organization called D.R.E.A.M. to provide educational and recreational programs for youth in the MS-LA region.  I also serve as president of True Love Community Outreach, a non-profit organization that provides adult education classes to individuals throughout Natchez and surrounding areas, and I am currently working on a doctorate in Higher Education Administration.”

Natalie Noble, College Access Coordinator, provides college planning and career awareness workshops to students in schools and community organizations across the Southwest Region of Mississippi.

Brittany Powell

“In high school, I shadowed a pediatrician while taking challenging classes like Trigonometry, Physics, and Latin. I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician and make lots of money, but by my junior year in college, I knew becoming a pediatrician was not for me. I changed my major to Communicative Disorders but after a few classes I realized I had no interest at all in pursuing this major. I changed (again!) to Special Education which I loved. I earned my Bachelors in Special Education and certification in Crisis Counseling from Jackson State University. Finally, I am able to use my degree and certification to counsel young adults in schools and communities who are in need of guidance to pursue post-secondary education opportunities. I help them to develop a plan before they graduate from high school, a plan that aids them in researching their dreams and stops them from getting sidetracked by how much money they will make in a profession they are not suited for. I help them to not make the same mistakes I did.”

Brittany Powell, College Access Coordinator, provides college planning and career awareness workshops to students in schools and community organizations across the Southwest Region of Mississippi.

Delta College Knowledge Team

Juliet Thomas

Delta College Knowledge Team

“I was a legacy child. My mother and most of my family went to Jackson State University, therefore; that was the only university I was expected to and wanted to attend after high school. At JSU, my first major was Computer Science. After 2 semesters, I quickly learned that Computer Science was NOT the career for me! I changed my major to Business Administration. However, being on my own for the first time, my extracurricular activities and social life took over my academic life. Because I neglected my classes, my grades dropped and I had to leave Jackson State. Twelve years later I found out that having a high school education was not enough. I needed to go back to school. Now I was ready and determined that nothing would stop me from graduating this time. I earned a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree and graduated with Honors from Mississippi Valley State University.”

Juliet Thomas provides services across the Delta as a College Access Coordinator. She believes that every student deserves a chance to attend the college of their choice.