Jeekin was born and raised in the college town of Auburn, Alabama. Being raised nearby a land grant university, he was constantly exposed to agriculture and academics. He did his undergraduate studies in the ”Fruit and Vegetable Production” track in the Department of Horticulture while working part time on a on campus research station / greenhouse complex. He continued his education with Dr. Wheeler Foshee’s pesticide efficacy lab while working on a research project looking at the feasibility of using industrial sweet potatoes and its post fermentation by-products as livestock feed supplements. He then began PhD studies at Texas A&M University under Dr. David Byrne working on breeding roses for disease resistance, heat tolerance, and other horticultural traits.
Currently within the Texas A&M Rose Breeding program Jeekin works on establishing tetraploid rose populations useful for the mapping rose rosette resistance while looking at other diseases like blackspot and Cercospora along with horticultural traits such as flower characteristics and plant architecture traits. He is also looking at some diploid populations to assess the genetic components responsible for those flower traits.
In the future, Jeekin plans to continue research in genetics and genomics focusing on using molecular breeding tools to enhance the speed and efficiency of horticultural crop breeding.