Q&A with Jaeda Nelson


Courtesy of Jaeda Nelson

Crystal Clausen, Online Editor

Meet Jaeda Nelson, a first-generation college student majoring in Business Administration, with a specialization in Leadership and Management. She has worked at the Diversity and Equity Center for two years as a Student Initiatives Coordinator and has become a leader of THRIVE, a women of color empowerment program. Jaeda has recently been recognized with the President’s Student Civic Leadership Award through Washington Campus Compact (WACC).

Q: Where did your passion for community wellness stem from?

A: I love being in communities where there’s a sense of abundance rather than scarcity. The abundance of friendship, love, achieving your dreams, and so on. I want to provide experiences where people feel this. 

Q: What made you want to become involved with so many organizations while in college?

A: Honestly, it was and it wasn’t intentional. I went through several different groups and clubs in college and struggled to find my footing. A lot of my involvement happened with time and not wavering or rushing my desires. Once something felt right, I went for it. My involvement on campus stemmed from there not being any initiative like it (THRIVE- women of color empowerment program through the DEC) where I was lucky enough to build it from the ground up as well as initiatives that needed to be reimagined to support the current state of our campus (PUSH- President’s United to Solve Hunger). 

Q: What does receiving the President’s Student Civic Leadership Award mean to you?

A: This award is hard to take in for several reasons. It is very hard for me to conceptualize the work I’ve done over the past couple of years. The responsibilities I hold are not ones I take lightly and I don’t like to get comfortable with what I’ve achieved. But overall, this award allowed me to pause and give myself some praise because this work is not easy and that should not go unrecognized. 

Q: Do you currently have any plans for after graduation?

A: I don’t have anything set and stone. I want a job that pays well and that I find fulfillment in. Maybe move to California? I don’t like setting very tangible goals because I feel like they can be limiting and create unhealthy expectations.

Q: What has been your most memorable moment at CWU?

A: I’m not sure if there is one that sticks out to me. 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 be when you grew up?

A: I wanted to be a lot of things. Becoming a Disney star was definitely the most consistent one. I remember sending in a Shake it Up dance video (I took it very seriously). Besides that, I never had a specific occupation. I think that’s because I didn’t want my job to be my entire identity. I just wanted to be rich and happy truthfully. But more importantly, to build a life for my family and create a new legacy of prosperity.