Newhouse experiences and connections pay off for sophomore Jada Knight

In under two years at Syracuse University, Jada Knight has already made her mark in major ways.

The television, radio and film sophomore’s list of accomplishments is long, from being offered two scholarships before even arriving on campus to attending the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in France this past summer. 

Photo by Leigh Vo

“[Newhouse] has pushed me to go for things that I never would have gone for if I went to college back home,” Knight says. “It’s caused me to think of opportunities that aren’t local, to broaden my horizons, to take the risk and see if I get something.”

Originally from Miami, Knight began at the Newhouse School with double scholarships: the Our Time Has Come Scholarship and the Posse Scholarship

The Our Time Has Come Scholarship Program is run through Syracuse University’s Office of Multicultural Advancement, aiming to bring together minority populations on campus and encouraging them to make connections with one another as well as with Syracuse University alumni. Knight acknowledges the program to be her most important involvement. 

Jada Knight. Photo by Leigh Vo.

“I’m glad I did it because some of the people I’m really close to now are in the program,” Knight says. “It’s taught me how to speak with people in the industries I might be interested in and it’s taught me how to dress business casual. I never knew what that meant.”

Knight continues to grow as a student and an individual through her Posse Scholarship. It was awarded by The Posse Foundation, a national organization that recruits and trains individuals with leadership potential. She was nominated to apply by a high school peer and was later selected to be one of 10 scholars from Miami, receiving a full tuition scholarship towards her university studies. 

Knight also takes pride in her role as a Newhouse Ambassador, through which she gives prospective students tours and encourages them to explore all that Newhouse has to offer. It’s a fun job on campus that Knight realized has a big payoff. 

“Sometimes you could meet someone very important,” she says. “One time [on a tour I was giving] I met the vice president of cybersecurity at Blackstone Launchpad in New York City. I wouldn’t have met him if I didn’t do that tour.”

Knight in Cannes, France in May 2022.

Knight attended the Cannes Film Festival in May due to her connection with Newhouse alumna and executive editor at Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), Tara Donaldson. Donaldson knew Penske Media Corporation’s—which publishes WWD—Black Affinity Group hoped to sponsor a student’s attendance to the festival, and she immediately thought of Newhouse.

“The Newhouse network can be a powerful tool, both for students looking to learn from alums and for alums looking for the best of the best to hire for new media roles,” Donaldson says. “Whenever I’ve had the opportunity to hire for a role, I look to Newhouse first because I know the education the students are getting is a cut above the rest, and I know these students will emerge with the tools and passion necessary to give their best to a role.”

The future is bright for Knight. This month, she will be representing the Newhouse School at the Journalism Education Association convention in St. Louis, and hopes to intern in communications with the Women’s National Basketball Association in New York City this summer. Aligning with her Cannes experience, Knight aims to lead a social media team of her own or become an international film distributor.

Julia Sassoon is a junior public relations major at the Newhouse School.