It was her freshman year at the University of Arkansas and Jada Miller was struggling.

Biology class was a beast.

A first-generation student, she had the pressure of paying for school herself. Failure was not an option. One day, Jada’s roommate thundered into their dorm room, excited about passing the Praxis exam, a test necessary to start courses in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Jada was intrigued.

After a positive meeting with an advisor about the program, she enrolled in Introduction to Communication Disorders to see if becoming a speech pathologist might be right for her.

It was love at first class.

It felt like the right major for her. But it also made her think of the community she’d left behind in El Dorado, Arkansas. She’s determined to take her degree back home and provide speech-language pathology services to her hometown and to encourage residents to pursue health-related careers.

“It’s important that I return home to encourage and support my community,” she said. “There are a lot of broken neighborhoods. Hopefully, being an available resource for others from the same city will push students and families to seek services if needed or attend school to further their education.”

Jada is graduating from the U of A this week. The next step is grad school here. She’ll need a master’s degree to practice as a speech-language pathologist.

Jada Miller, Dean's Spotlight, helps a child with crafts during Arkansas Hands and Voices event

Jada is tenacious, and she also has a big heart. She grew up caring for a family member with special needs. Since then, she’s volunteered at the Yvonne Richardson Community Center and the non-profit rEcess, which provides services to children with special needs.

Jada is one to watch. She’s already a difference-maker, and is poised to create an amazing future for herself, her community and beyond. Thanks for everything you do, Jada!

Want to make a difference in your world? Find out more about COEHP’s Communication Sciences and Disorders program at the U of A!