Jada Veasey '22 Headshot

Jada Veasey '22


Following Her Passions

Jada Veasey ’22 was recognized as the state’s most outstanding student journalist. The surprising part? She wasn’t a journalism major; she was a nursing major.

In February 2022, Jada was named the Pat Pisarik Journalist of the Year, the highest honor given by the Iowa College Media Association (ICMA). Jada won this award despite not being a journalism major, an opportunity she doesn’t believe she would have had at other schools.

“If I were at one of those bigger schools, I would have never even been named an editor,” Jada said, “let alone editor-in-chief. But then to actually win a journalism award and not have studied it is just kind of crazy.”

If I were at one of those bigger schools, I would have never even been named an editor, let alone editor-in-chief.

Jada always had a passion for reading and writing, so when she saw posters about the Mount Mercy Times her first year, she was intrigued. She attended an open meeting as one of only three first-year students. She signed up for a few stories at that meeting and never stopped.

Joe Sheller—the faculty advisor of the Times—soon hired Jada as the Times work-study student. Joe recognized Jada’s writing and leadership skills. He ended up writing Jada’s nomination letter for the Pat Pisarik Journalist of the Year award.

“Jada Veasey is an extraordinary person,” Joe shared in his nomination letter. “She is one of the best writers I’ve ever encountered in two decades of advising a campus newspaper.”

Jada served as opinion editor her sophomore and junior years. After years of writing and dozens of published items, opinion pieces are still her favorite to write. Jada’s favorite piece she has written was a review of Lyz Lenz’s God Land.

“She’s a Cedar Rapidian and a nationally and internationally known writer,” Jada said. “It was such a fun thing for me to review this book by someone who was local because people all over know the book.”

Jada became editor-in-chief her senior year. During her time on the paper, Jada learned to be adaptable. “When I was first an editor, we had a team of 12. I have a team of six,” Jada shared.

Having a smaller team means more work and covering subjects you might usually avoid. “It’s pushing me out of my comfort zone,” she said.

The Times received several awards from the ICMA this year, including first place in investigative reporting, staff editorial, front page, and blog as well as second place in blog and headline writing.

“It always is exciting to watch us be on the same stage as UNI or bigger schools like that,” Jada said. “Throughout the year we sort of forget that there are people looking and paying attention.”

While nursing and journalism may seem different at first glance, Jada found that they overlapped in many ways. Leadership skills were extremely helpful in both positions. She found that the therapeutic communication techniques she learned in nursing came in handy when interviewing someone for a story.

Jada was selected as the 2022 Commencement undergraduate student speaker. She also received the Sister Mary Edward McConohy Nursing Award, the Outstanding Journalism Student Award, and the Co-Curricular Service Award.

Jada plans to pursue her nursing career and look for opportunities to foster her writing skills. Jada accepted a position as a nurse in the NICU department at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

She plans to start a blog and look for opportunities to write for print. Jada also plans to continue reading the Times after graduation and to keep in touch with editors she met during her time on the paper.

At Mount Mercy, Jada had the opportunity to explore interests that fell outside of her major and career goals. She encourages other students to participate in activities they are interested in, no matter what their major is.

“It doesn’t matter what you study or what level of school you’re in, if you want to be involved in the Times, you can be involved in the Times.”

It doesn’t matter what you study or what level of school you’re in, if you want to be involved in the Times, you can be involved in the Times.

Jada Veasey '22

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