Where Are They Now: Recent West grad finds nice home in UC Berkeley’s math program

Ava Stephens, Staff Writer

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Jackson Starkey, a 2018 graduate, was valedictorian of his class and one of the most involved students in the West community.  From school plays to running cross country, people knew who Starkey was.  

Fast forward to today, and Starkey is working on making a name for himself at one of the country’s most prestigious schools.  The University of California Berkeley, has a 17% acceptance rate and is where Starkey is going about his academic career. 

Ranking fifth on  the World’s Top 1000 Universities by Shanghai Ranking, it is no surprise that Berkeley is a well-sought after university to attend.  The campus – which sits in the Bay Area near San Francisco – is known worldwide for its medical program and being slightly to the left politically.  

Being one of 42,519 students, Starkey has a lot to live up to.  Alumni of UC Berkeley include actor Chris Pine and renowned pole-vaulter Allison Stokke just make it more so.  

Studying Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Starkey  just started his second year.

”I’ve learned about a range of topics from linear algebra to real analysis to data structures. I’ve worked on projects including game development and predictive algorithms. It sounds boring, but is a lot better than it sounds,” Starkey said.

Starkey is involved in a variety of campus activities, including an a capella choir group and in a student association for Applied Statistics.  Starkey also played a role in the play “Ha Ha, Boat.”  

Starkey then offers his brain to current West students, laughing it off with a joke.

”Hit me up for math help, but only if you’re willing to burn all of your Stanford merch,” Starkey said.