Q&A with Jaeda Nelson – The Observer

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Meet Jaeda Nelson, a first generation student majoring in Business Administration, with a specialization in Leadership and Management. She worked at the Diversity and Equity Center for two years as a student initiatives coordinator and became a leader of THRIVE, an empowerment program for women of color. Jaeda recently received the President’s Student Civic Leadership Award through the Washington Campus Compact (WACC).

Q: Where does your passion for community well-being come from?

A: I like being in communities where there is a sense of abundance rather than scarcity. The abundance of friendship, love, fulfillment of your dreams, etc. I want to provide experiences where people feel that.

Q: What made you want to get involved in so many organizations during your studies?

A: Honestly, it was and wasn’t intentional. I went through several different bands and clubs in college and struggled to find my footing. Much of my involvement happened over time and without hesitation or rushing my desires. Once something felt right, I went for it. My involvement on campus stemmed from the fact that there was no initiative like this (THRIVE – program to empower women of color through DEC) where I had the chance to build it from from scratch as well as initiatives that needed to be redesigned to support the current state of our campus (PUSH- President’s United to Solve Hunger).

Q: What does it mean to you to receive the President’s Award for Student Leadership?

A: This price is difficult to accept for several reasons. It is very difficult for me to conceptualize the work I have done over the past two years. The responsibilities I take on are not ones I take lightly and I don’t like feeling comfortable with what I’ve accomplished. But overall, this award allowed me to pause and congratulate myself because this work is not easy and it should not go unnoticed.

Q: Do you currently have any plans after graduation?

A: I have nothing fixed and stone. I want a job that pays well and in which I thrive. Maybe move to California? I don’t like setting very concrete goals because I feel like they can be limiting and create unhealthy expectations.

Q: What was your most memorable moment at the CWU?

A: I don’t know if there is one that is close to my heart. I feel like I’ve made so many memories with so many different people, in different places, doing different things that I can’t choose!

Q: When you were younger, what did you want to do growing up?

A: I wanted to be many things. Becoming a Disney star was certainly the most consistent. I remember sending a Shake it Up dance video (I took it very seriously). Other than that, I’ve never had a specific job. I think it’s because I didn’t want my work to be my whole identity. I just wanted to be rich and happy sincerely. But more importantly, to build a life for my family and create a new legacy of prosperity.

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