Class of 2014
Communication Studies Major and Art Minor
Jahna Merritt directs her high energy and bubbling personality into a host of activities on campus. From Sankofa and Empowered Women to the Multicultural Leadership Program and serving as a student ambassador, Jahna is fully engaged in life at Bridgewater College and her excitement about the programs she is involved in shines through.
Already a good leader, Jahna aspires to be a great leader. Bridgewater College provides many opportunities for her to develop leadership skills in order to reach that goal.
During the 2012 spring semester, Jahna joined Sanfoka, a student leadership series that focuses on building leadership skills among students through workshops on self-knowledge, purpose, perseverance, relationships, self-examination and transformation. Jahna said while she likes to keep to herself, she developed a trust with the eight-member group that enabled her to discuss how to handle difficult situations that come up.
“Everyone in the group has different traits and gifts they bring,” she said. “Some people are good with communications, others with money and some with event planning. Altogether, I know I have people I can count on.”
As a freshman, Jahna was a member of Empowered Women, an enrichment program that centers on meeting the needs of underrepresented female students through leadership, personal, career and professional development. Passing along what she received as a freshman, Jahna serves as a peer adviser encouraging a new class of BC women on academics and adjusting to college life. The participants in Empowered Women developed a closeness as they visited Massanutten Water Park, had a cookout and attended workshops.
As a mentor with the Multicultural Leadership Program, Jahna encourages students to become involved in campus activities. She constantly has an eye out for activities she thinks her mentees may enjoy.
As a student ambassador, Jahna meets prospective students by taking them on tours of the campus. She tailors each tour to the interests of the student, such as showing a biology major the McKinney Center for Science and Mathematics. She also includes a stop at the dining hall to try “the best cookies on campus.”
As busy and involved as she is, Jahna still finds time to try new activities, such as finding her way through a corn maze and white water rafting.
“By being in all these activities, I get to see people I probably never would have noticed on campus,” Jahna said. “I get to work with them and see what they are about. I can help someone become better at what they are doing.”
Jahna said “being a good leader is a process and takes time.” She is ready to make the effort.