The Friendliest Faces in the South

There's a reason Jax State is known as The Friendliest Campus in the South! Our community and our stories are the cornerstones that have built our legacy. Do you have a Jax State Story? Please share it with us!

Kaitlyn Letson 

Program of Study: Masters of Public Administration with a focus in Criminal Justice
Expected Graduation Term/Year: Spring 2026
Hometown: Moulton, AL

“Be who you are, not who people want you to be”
Kaitlyn Letson

Stepping out of her comfort zone has made all the difference for Student Government Association (SGA) President, Kaitlyn Letson.

Like many of her peers, Letson had always assumed she’d attend a university close to her hometown of Moulton, Alabama. Her journey, however, took a different turn when she discovered Jacksonville State University during a college fair in her junior year of high school.

"Jax State really stuck out to me not only because my admissions counselor was super friendly, but also because the scholarship packages they offered were the most generous of any other schools that I was interested in," she recalls. "It made college feel more accessible, especially as a first-gen student from a working-class family."

Despite the pressure to attend a more familiar university, Letson felt an immediate connection with Jax State when she was finally able to visit campus in-person for an Admitted Student Day. "It felt different; it felt like home," she says. "The people were extremely friendly, and the campus looked absolutely beautiful. From that day on, I was sold on becoming a Gamecock."

Letson with a laptop in the library 

Letson in the Criminal Justice simulation lab

Letson was particularly drawn to the university’s Criminal Justice program. "Growing up, I was always interested in the criminal justice system and the various opportunities within that field," she says. "After learning that Jax State has one of the highest-ranking Criminal Justice degree programs in the nation, I was inspired to finalize my decision to come here."

After beginning her classes, she knew she had made the right choice. "The instructors here are all insanely knowledgeable and truly want the best for each student," she says, "Making these personal connections with my instructors provided me with something like a second family, which makes all the difference when you’re a first-generation student hours away from home."

She recently graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science and is now pursuing a Master’s of Public Administration with a focus in Criminal Justice, expected to graduate in Spring 2026. "I want to do my absolute best in everything I’m involved in and get a degree while doing it," she states. "After graduating, I’m closer than ever to achieving my dream career of becoming a lawyer and returning the generosity and support that my family has shown me."

Letson has certainly never been a stranger to hard work. She spent her childhood on her family’s farm growing up in a home she and her family built by hand. She knew that coming from a working-class, eight-member family, meant she would need to finance her education through scholarships and work. "I received a generous academic tuition scholarship, but I also had to navigate living on my own and paying my own bills for the first time," she explains. "I even had three jobs at one point. However, working at the University Police Department and later transitioning to my role with the SGA provided me with a scholarship and meal plan, making all the difference as a first-generation college student."

Despite her busy schedule, she has managed to stay heavily involved on campus including serving as the university’s current SGA President. She has also been involved in 14 other campus organizations during her time at Jax State including Freshman Forum, Lambda Sigma, Sociology Club, YMCA Collegiate Legislature, Student Senate, Delta Zeta Sorority, SGA Vice President of Student Senate, Panhellenic Council, Baptist Campus Ministries, College Republicans, College Democrats, and the Political Science Debate Team. "I LOVE CLUBS," she enthusiastically notes.

Kaitlin Letson with her gavel

Of these organizations, her favorite is the SGA, but she is so grateful for all the organizations that have led her to her current position. She recalls an important moment in her college career where she stepped out of her comfort zone to join Collegiate Legislature during her sophomore year. “That organization absolutely changed not only my life, but the way I perceived myself as well. From that, I was inspired to become a Student Senator, then a Student Senate committee chair, then SGA Vice President of the Student Senate, and finally SGA President,” she shares. “I learned so much about leadership, service, and myself from an organization I almost didn’t join just because I was scared of public speaking. I am so thankful for those who pushed me to get out of my comfort zone, and I would not be the person I am today without them.”

As she reflects on her journey, she advises prospective students to be true to themselves and get involved. "Be who you are, not who people want you to be," she says. "Make a good support system and use it. And don’t forget to have fun while you’re getting your degree. Time flies by while you’re here, so make the most of it!"

The SGA officers outside of the TMB
Letson in the President's Office

Favorite Campus Dining Location


Favorite Spot to Hang Out on Campus

The Library

Favorite Campus Tradition

"I'll Fly Away" at the end of football games!

Watch Kaitlyn's Full Interview