Jaiden R.

Jaiden R.
Jaiden R.

Jaiden, who grew up in Fairbanks, has “never seen a real beach before.” But even though she pondered Hawaii for college, she didn’t feel the need to escape her hometown.

“I just love it here so much that I don’t want to go anywhere else,” she said while sitting in the Murie Building’s glass lobby on a bright February day. “Like right now, it’s really sunny and you can see the mountain ranges from here.”

The third-year student attended home school for her entire K-12 education, an experience she said worked well for her and her three younger siblings. 

“It definitely taught us independence, that’s for sure,” she said. “I know home-schoolers get the whole rap, ‘Oh, they’re socially deprived,’ but I played four sports, so I was always around people.”

One of those sports was swimming. Jaiden has parlayed that experience into a lifeguard job, working evenings and weekends at a local public pool.


She also sees broader horizons. Building on a family connection to Germany, Jaiden has taken multiple courses in that nation’s language. She participates in the German Club and works as a teaching assistant for beginning classes at .

“I would really love to go to Germany. I’ve thought about going on an exchange,” she said.

Jaiden also hopes to attend veterinary school, perhaps through ’s program, after she earns her biology degree.