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Working at St. Jude: Blending passion with purpose

Jacklyn Boggs works with patient Elijah during a reading clinic session.

Jacklyn Boggs works with patient Elijah during a reading clinic session.

How many people in the world can say they have attained their dream job? Jacklyn Boggs, an academic coordinator in the Hematology Department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, knows the feeling firsthand.

“I’ve always wanted to be able to do programming for kids and advocate for a population that needs support and love,” she said. “I feel really lucky to serve these kids. That’s where my passion lies.”

Boggs has worked at St. Jude since 2014 where she has developed several programs to help improve language and literature in children with sickle cell disease, beta-thalassemia and hemophilia. A fully licensed teacher, she serves as a liaison with Shelby County Schools, helps children improve their reading comprehension through a summer reading program, helped develop a monthly support group for children, and created a program that teaches parents how to improve deficits in children with academic delays.

At St. Jude, her days and weekends are filled with activities—and every day is different. She might spend the morning preparing curricula for a weekend retreat for teens with hemophilia. She may travel to a local school to educate a teacher about a child’s diagnosis. Or she may network with Psychology Department staff to determine the best services for a particular child. 

Recently, Jacklyn was presented with the hospital’s Amos Jacobs Award—the top honor given annually to a St. Jude employee.

“You really have to have an intrinsic love of this work," said Boggs, who is finishing up her coursework for a PhD, focusing on representations of children with invisible disabilities. “I think I was born to do this. And I feel so lucky to do it.”