Jackson Stephens was born and raised in Castro Valley, California in the San Francisco Bay Area to a middle-class multicultural family. He holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of the Pacific and studied abroad his junior year; one semester in Iringa, Tanzania and another in Santiago, Chile. Stephens is fluent in Spanish and speaks Swahili at a basic level. While earning his undergraduate he held leadership positions in Theta Chi and Delta Phi Epsilon Fraternities as well as the Afghan Orphan Relief non-profit and Interfaith Council.
Stephens is a journalism graduate student at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. His focus while at USC is on long form writing and audio in order to cover human rights issues and report on immigration, migration and refugee issues around the world. He is currently an editor at the Global City Desk at Annenberg Media, USC’s student run newsroom. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.