Thousands of miles from her California home, Radford University was slightly off the beaten path for Jade Okamoto. Because she wanted to play golf for a Division I school and because the campus offered strong academic programs, she added the university to her list of options. A visit to campus immediately convinced her that Radford was the perfect choice.
“Once I stepped on campus and saw the amazing views, met the golf coach and learned about the academic programs, I instantly knew this was the school for me,” Okamoto said. “Radford University has everything I was looking for.”
Transitioning from the West Coast to the East Coast hasn’t been difficult for Okamoto. As captain of the women’s golf team, she’s made a lot of friends. Meanwhile, the university’s small class sizes have allowed her to have one-on-one interaction with her professors. Attending Radford University also allowed her to experience something she never had before – seasons that bring flowering trees, changing leaves and blankets of light snow.
“I think seeing the seasons change has been one thing that has really stood out to me,” she said. “I had never experienced how beautiful and amazing that is.”
Although she is an accomplished golfer, Okamoto looks forward to a fulfilling teaching career. She has two possible paths in mind – joining Teach For America, a national teacher corps of recent college graduates who commit a minimum of two years to teaching in under-resourced communities, or pursuing a graduate degree and teaching history or social science to inner-city students in Los Angeles, which has a school dropout rate of nearly 54 percent.
“I just want to be a part of a change in the education system in the United States and to encourage kids to stay in school,” she said.