Senior Spotlight: Jaden Reed

Jaden Reed Senior Spotlight graphic.

Born and raised in the United Arab Emirates, Jaden Reed remembers thumbing through a variety of University of Missouri publications sent to her mother, a Mizzou alumna. As Reed began to make her own college decision, those MU materials were always in the back of her mind. She eventually decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps and made the 7,500-mile trek to Columbia, Missouri.

“When I was younger, I remember poring over the pictures of the Golden Girls and important Mizzou landmarks, like the columns,” Reed said. “As I was looking at potential universities in high school, Mizzou always felt like a strong option. My parents have roots in Missouri, too, so it made sense for me to come here.”

While Reed had been to the United States before coming to Mizzou, there was still an adjustment period. Every other year Reed and her family would spend about two months stateside, taking various road trips to connect with friends and family.

“I like to think of myself as relatively mature, but during my first month living full-time in Columbia, I learned that the U.S. uses a different style of paper than the rest of the world,” Reed said. “I cried when I found out, mainly because if something that was so common was that different, I really didn’t know how I was going to function with everything else. Thankfully I was able to adjust but there was a learning curve.”

As Reed heads toward graduation, she’s definitely made the most of her time as a Tiger. Reed will earn a degree in international studies (peace studies) and has completed a handful of minors: French, Middle East studies and political science. She’s been an active part of the Honors College and was recently named a Mizzou ’39 recipient.

“I moved from the Middle East to the Midwest for Middle Eastern studies – which is something I definitely joke about with my family,” Reed said. “At Mizzou, I was really interested in the peace studies section of the international studies degree and thought there were numerous great minor options. There were also several extracurricular opportunities that looked appealing to me.”

One of those opportunities was with the Mizzou Model United Nations team. Reed had been active with Model UN since high school and was quick to join MU’s squad. She served as the president of the team last year.

“I’ve had so many great experiences through Model UN and made incredible friends,” Reed said. “Our team has put together an incredible winning streak and been named best overall delegation two times during competitions in New York. It’s been an enriching experience overall.”

Reed was also part of the Missouri Debate Union and the Mizzou Students for Justice in Palestine organization. She served as a residential advisor and was a member of the MU College of Arts and Science student council. Reed traveled throughout Missouri, too, as an Honors Ambassador.

“I really saw all the benefits of the Honors College as an ambassador,” Reed said. “I had a good time traveling and sharing more about those opportunities with prospective students and their families. I met some great people through the program, and I always loved being around Jess (Soete). She’s super cool.”

While Mizzou offered Reed multiple opportunities to make connections, she has also been able to dive deeper into her passions for international relations and advocacy. She was able to study abroad in Kyrgyzstan and spent time in Morocco, Spain and France through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.

Shoutout to the Office of Global and National Fellowships,” Reed said. “While working with advisors in the office I learned how to market myself to someone in 50 words, 500 words or 5,000 words. I learned a lot about myself, too. I was connected to so many opportunities through my work with the office.”

Reed said that she is considering a variety of options after graduation. She recently received a Fulbright at teach English in Kyrgyzstan and has offers from several graduate school programs. Reed has been interning with City of Refuge and has interest in refugee advocacy as well.

“I’m weighing a lot of options at the moment,” Reed said. “I’m very interested in international relations and refugee advocacy. There are multiple ways to get involved in those fields, so I’m ready to explore a bit. Being able to travel is appealing as well. There are a lot of possibilities – it’s exciting to take those next steps.”