Share Your Story: Whitney Mullen
For Whitney Mullen, move-in day at Radford University was less like going away to college and more like coming home.
The new freshman arrived on campus on Friday, Aug. 22, with a strong connection to the campus already: Her parents Jenny '88 and Mike '90 met when they were students at RU, living two doors down from one another in an apartment complex.
"I used to think Radford was the only school when I was little," the Potomac Falls High School graduate said. "I'm excited. I've been ready to go away to college for a while now, and I already feel really comfortable here."
While at RU, Mullen will study nursing, a field she's wanted to enter since she was young. In fourth grade, while her family was on a long car trip, she fell ill and had to go to the hospital. The nurses made an impression on her.
"The nurses I had were so nice that I've wanted to be one ever since," Mullen said.
In a perfect match for Mullen, Radford's School of Nursing, in the Waldron College for Health and Human Services, has a 40-year history of excellence and offers degrees at the bachelor and doctoral level. She knew it would be one of the places she had to apply, she said.
Mullen wasted no time getting involved in her studies. She spent her summer as a member of RU Accelerate, a program that prepares exceptional new freshmen for research and study at the collegiate level. Students enroll in a summer online course and classes in the fall and spring of freshman year that culminate in a team-based research project. Mullen will join fellow nursing students in her project next spring.
It's not all work, though. Between classes, the pre-nursing major is eager to explore the social and recreation activities offered on campus.
"It feels like I'm just going away to a summer camp," she said. "I think I'm going to join a sorority and I like to run…So I'm definitely excited for the new athletics facility to open up."
The new facility, the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, is currently in the final stages of construction and is expected to open this fall. The center will feature 110,000 square feet of wellness, fitness, and recreation space and a centerpiece that Mullen will enjoy: a two-level indoor running track with vistas of campus and the New River.
Jenny Mullen, who earned her degree from RU in early-middle childhood education, is as excited by the change and progress at her alma mater as her daughter.
"I love the way the university is expanding," she said. "I think they did it right. They didn't rush, they didn't muck it up and they kept it nice. I'm very proud of RU. I'm very proud of our school."
Mike, a geography major, agrees.
"It was a great learning environment and still is," he said. "Teachers that are approachable and just a great campus life. Big enough that you don't know everybody, but small enough that you feel like you belong."