Jada's Story

Support students like Jada!
Jada Downing

Name: Jada Downing
College: College of Humanities and Behavioral Science
Majors: Foreign Languages— French; Minors in Arabic and International Studies
Clubs/Activities: Women’s Volleyball; New Student Programs
Hometown: Virginia Beach, Virginia

Why Radford?
The opportunity-to-size ratio. I have never experienced a time where I felt as if I was missing out on potential opportunities due to attending a medium-sized institution. There are a multitude of activities constantly taking place that enrich the student body — from speakers giving seminars, to educational conferences off-campus, to social events. Amidst these wonderful academic and social opportunities, the medium size allows students to really get to know the faculty and their peers.

What is your favorite Radford University memory?
Our volleyball team winning the Big South Volleyball Conference Championship. The demanding work and relentless training we invested over the past year had finally come full circle. The best part about the game was that it was held on our home court. Winning the championship trophy with the support of our friends, family, faculty and students was the best feeling in the world!

Who is your favorite professor?
The one and only Eric Du Plessis. He is easily the most knowledgeable person I’ve ever met. The connection that I’ve built with him through his wise words and dedication to my studies is like no other. I’ll never forget asking him about the different territories throughout France and seeing his face light up with excitement and pride as he described his home country. That moment solidified my happiness with selecting French as my major.

How have you financed your education?
During my first year, my education was financed through a mixture of federal loans, grants and contributions made by my family. However, since my sister was still finishing school and my mother started pursuing her bachelor’s degree to keep her job, I could no longer depend on their contributions for my second year. At the time, I had just enough federal funding to cover tuition and housing, but being able to afford food was my primary concern. I sat for hours trying to figure out what jobs were available and how I could possibly balance a part-time job with the demands of being a student-athlete. I was ecstatic to learn that I received a Radford University Foundation Scholarship the following day!

How has donor support helped you as a student?
Donor support is not simply important, it is crucial. Receiving a Foundation Scholarship to recognize and reward my dedication to academics not only made it possible for me to continue my education, it shows that students in similar situations aren’t going unnoticed. In addition to funding my education, I have been able to use part of my scholarship to help pay for my study-abroad experience in Morocco. This opportunity is a requirement for my major, and experiencing it would not have been possible without financial support from generous donors.

Do you have a message for donors and prospective donors?
There are no words in any language that can properly convey the amount of gratitude students have when they are supported by donors. I know that I will become a donor upon graduation so that I can give a deserving student the same peace of mind and support that I once received. If you aren’t currently a donor, it’s never too late to provide the opportunity that a Radford student has earned and needs. On behalf of myself and future Highlanders, thank you for everything that you do for the Radford community. Your contributions truly make a difference in our lives!