In a profile by Barbados Today, Jada Smith-Padmore ’24 discusses squash and finding a home away from home at HWS.
Barbados Today recently profiled international student Jada Smith-Padmore ’24 about her collegiate journey.
“It’s a big deal,” Smith-Padmore says. “I hope people read it and more people from Barbados come to Hobart and William Smith.”
More than 2,000 miles away from home, Smith-Padmore found the Colleges through Head Coach Pat Cosquer who seemed like the perfect mentor, and an alum connection that reached all the way to the Caribbean.
In 2015, Smith-Padmore was a rising star for Barbados squash. During a memorable contest between Barbados and Guyana at regionals, Smith-Padmore played and lost to Gabby Fraser ’20. Smith-Padmore admired Fraser’s game and spirit, and sought her advice during the college search process. After hearing about Fraser’s experience on the squash court and in the classroom, Smith-Padmore knew she wanted to be a part of the close-knit William Smith team.
Fraser also gave Smith-Padmore confidence she would be supported as a Caribbean student on campus.
Ultimately, Smith-Padmore says, “I just knew this was where I wanted to be.”
Due to COVID-19 traveling restrictions, Smith-Padmore studied remotely from Barbados for her first semester. Though scheduling was challenging, Smith-Padmore says she felt welcomed into the HWS community. “My FSEM professor would spend an extra hour on Zoom with me and I made friends through our classes’ Facebook group. I even hung out with people on Zoom and met my best friend. We would just watch Netflix and hangout. When I got to campus, I already had all of these connections.” Smith-Padmore’s FSEM was “Face to Face: Interrogating Race” with Associate Professor of Africana Studies James McCorkle.
As for squash, Smith-Padmore says as a William Smith squash player her game is just getting better and better. When she’s not studying and furthering her goal to become a clinical psychologist, she’s putting in extra time on the squash court (which she has access to whenever she wants). “Coach Pat is awesome. He motivates me and always encourages me to better my game. And my captains are like my on-campus moms. They keep me on track academically, emotionally. They’re my support system.”
On the court, she is 8-5 this season. Smith-Padmore opened her rookie season on a five-match win streak. She went 1-1 at the Liberty League Championship.
Cosquer has assembled a truly international team, with players from as far as Egypt and Ecuador. “We share a common experience of being far from home, and I can lean on them when I’m feeling homesick,” she says.
Smith-Padmore is a recipient of the Clara Lionel Foundation’s Global Scholarship Program, funded by Rhianna. “Students are selected for the scholarship who have the same aims at the foundation, which for me was my passion for humanitarianism. I want to help people become more visible in society and I believe in creating opportunities for all people to reach their potential. I’ve always been interested in helping people. I am an advocate for mental health awareness.”
With each class at the Colleges, Smith-Padmore says she is gaining confidence as a writer and psychologist. “I’m learning more about who I am as a person and how my brain works. And all of that helps me understand how I can make an impact.”
Read the Barbados Today profile here.