NWOSU grad continues to make an impact in the Alva community
Born into a family of NWOSU graduates, Jodie Bradford knew she wanted to attend Northwestern Oklahoma State University, but growing up in a wheelchair due to spina bifida created challenges when choosing a university. However, Northwestern exceeded all of her expectations, and the administration, faculty and staff went above and beyond to meet her needs.
“The university was always one step ahead, and I didn’t have to constantly reach out for accommodations,” Bradford said. “This level of effort was huge for me and prevented the feeling of being an inconvenience,” Bradford said.
Bradford looked forward to joining Delta Zeta at NWOSU, following in her sister's footsteps. She describes this as one of her fondest memories during her college experience.
“I never believed the saying that you find your future bridesmaids in college until I went to NWOSU,” Bradford said. “As someone who values making lasting connections, I will forever cherish the friendships I made.”
Bradford initially studied education until she decided to change course her junior year. This was a difficult decision, as she was almost done with her degree, but professors from NWOSU encouraged her to follow her true passions and guided her through the process.
“I was nervous to change my major this far into college, but I knew teaching wasn’t for me,” Bradford said. “I owe it all to Professor Tammy Brown for helping me change my major to general studies, and putting me on the path for success.”
Bradford pointed out that general studies may be broad, but Northwestern ensures that students learn keen skills that are valuable for any career. “My general studies courses taught me how to communicate with businesses, write formally and conquer my fear of public speaking,” Bradford said. “Without these skills, I wouldn’t have this level of success in my career.”
As the executive director of the Alva Chamber of Commerce, Bradford is responsible for building relationships and advocating for the betterment of the Alva community through economic development. She expresses her gratitude to the university for providing her with leadership skills and the confidence in her ability to lead.
“Growing up, I never thought I could be in a leadership position, but here I am,” Bradford said. “If it wasn't for Northwestern, I wouldn't have learned how to direct people, and realize that I’m just like everyone else. Who cares if I have a wheelchair?”
Bradford continues to support NWOSU, speaks with students to share her story, and shows them that this can be their home.
“Northwestern Oklahoma is a prosperous area with tons of opportunities and activities for folks of all ages,” Bradford said. “You don’t have to look far after graduating from NWOSU because any career you can think of, we have here.”