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Jade Wilkerson

Class of: 2014
Hometown: Nashville, TN
School: Peabody College of Education & Human Development
Major(s): Human and Organizational Development

Through the course of her freshman year, Jade continued many of the service activities she was involved with throughout high school, including tutoring elementary school students with the Preston-Taylor Ministries after-school enrichment program and mentoring girls from her high school, Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet, with Vanderbilt’s L.I.F.E. Project mentor organization. Additionally, she served as an academic tutor for In Full Motion, a nonprofit designed to improve the ACT scores of underprivileged Nashville students and prepare them for college. With Girl Scouts Project L.E.A.D., a program that recruits college students to become Girl Scout leaders and serve troops in rural and urban communities, she became a Girl Scout leader for middle school girls at Smithson-Craighead Academy. Being a former Girl Scout and recipient of the Girl Scout Silver and Gold Awards, Jade was able to use what the Girl Scout community shared with her and ultimately, give it back to other girls. At the end of her freshman year, Jade was blessed with the amazing opportunity through the Ingram Scholarship Program to empower middle and high school African American and Hispanic girls of Chicago’s at-risk, gang-infested communities by teaching them hip hop dance. She conducted this project with Lawndale Community Church and Enlace Chicago, a gang intervention organization.
After returning from her adventures in Chicago, Jade found a way to bring hip hop dance to the Nashville community. As a member of the Vanderbilt VIBE Premiere Hip Hop Dance Team, Jade and her fellow dance mates taught hip hop dance once a week to underserved, middle school youth of the Martha O’Bryan Center in East Nashville. The kids got the chance to perform two dances in VIBE’s annual hip hop show at the end of the fall semester. At the same time, she maintained her commitment to service with In Full Motion in preparing youth to take the ACT. In conjunction with In Full Motion, she tutored elementary and middle school students in math through the Charles Davis Foundation, another organization that supports disadvantaged youth in Nashville. During her sophomore year, Jade continued her Girl Scout leadership, but this year she and a fellow Ingram Scholar, Alexis Simpson, led an elementary troop at the Martha O’Bryan Center. She and her girls sold Girl Scout cookies, learned proper table etiquette, had a talent show, learned the importance of friendship, and celebrated the 100th year anniversary of Girl Scouts.
Throughout her junior year, the majority of Jade’s service was spent developing a new Girl Scouts organization at Vanderbilt, known as L.E.A.D. the Way. In November 2012, she, Alexis, and a fellow senior founded the organization to give other Vandy students a chance to become Girl Scout leaders and serve in troops across Nashville. This past year, a diverse group of 20 students, both male and female, joined their organization, serving as Girl Scout leaders to elementary and middle school girls of the Martha O'Bryan Center, Bordeaux Elementary, Glenview Elementary, Tusculum Elementary, Fannie Battle Day Home for Children, Rosebank Elementary, Preston Taylor Boys and Girls Club, Looby Park, Whittsit Elementary, and Tom Joy Elementary. Jade sought to create a Girl Scout presence as well as raise awareness about the organization’s efforts on campus. For instance, in February 2013, two of L.E.A.D. the Way’s Girl Scout troops sold over 265 boxes of Girl Scout cookies on the outdoor wall of Vanderbilt’s main cafeteria, Rand, raising over $900 in 3 hours during the lunchtime rush. In addition to Girl Scouts, Jade continued her service in the L.I.F.E. Project, serving as the Mentee Relations Chair in which she recruited high school students of Overton and M. L. King, Jr. Magnet high schools to participate in relationship-building and female empowerment activities.

As senior year approaches, Jade will be persistent in her service as a tutor, a Girl Scout leader, and the reigning President of L.E.A.D. the Way. She is grateful to be a member of the Ingram Scholarship Program because it has taught her to be more sustainable and efficient in her duty to serve the Nashville community.

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Key Dates

  • December 1, 2017
  • Ingram Scholarship Program (High School Seniors) applications and letters of recommendation due.

  • TBD 2018
  • Ingram Scholarship Program (Current Vanderbilt First-Year & Sophomore Students) applications and letters of recommendation due.