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A Serendipitous Start Leads SJGC Students to a Three-Year FAMU Finish

Heather Johnson
Heather Johnson
Jaden Bowen and Jordan Forbes proudly cross the stage during FAMU's Spring 2024 commencement. Both ladies earned their bachelor degrees in three years.

Upon first glance, they may appear to be two determined friends, enjoying all life has to offer. However, after learning their backstory, it is soon realized that Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) School of Journalism & Graphic Communication (SJGC) alums Jordan Forbes and Jaden Bowen are blazing a symbiotic trail.

Their story began at Coral Springs High School, or so they thought. Casual acquaintances while in school, a chance meeting during a volleyball game revealed a decades-long connection between their families.

During that serendipitous event, the ladies learned their parents – whom are of Jamaican descent – were friends when they attended high school but had unfortunately lost contact over the years. However, their reconnection created a bond among their daughters that carried them from Broward County to Tallahassee and eventually helped them graduate from FAMU in three years.

This chain of events and their academic accomplishments rightfully astonishes most people; however, Brown and Forbes are simultaneously humble and refreshingly unfazed.

“I don’t think we did it on purpose,” Forbes said. “We both came to FAMU with Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment credits, and we were originally planning to graduate with the Class of 2025.

Unlike their parents, Bowen and Forbes’ connection did not end with high school. Although they applied to the University at contrasting times, they later learned they had both been accepted and were both planning to study journalism. This encouraged them to join SJGC’s Living Learning Community (LLC) as roommates.

The ladies, roommates since Fall 2021, said living together created a built-in support system that further cemented their friendship.

“Being roommates helped us keep the motivation going,” Bowen said. “Being around someone who knows what you’re going through or even working on the same assignments was helpful in this program.”

Jaden Bowen happily displays her strike.

Bowen and Forbes attribute their connection to helping them pursue various programs and activities offered through SJGC. They both credit the school for allowing them to experience various aspects of journalism and they eagerly stated they leveraged every opportunity, including being part of the Disney Storyteller Scholars program, members of the Journey Magazine staff, and producing newscasts for FAMU TV-20.

“I chose journalism because I like seeing how people collaborate together,” Forbes said. “Seeing that firsthand with someone who’s walking the same path, who also came from the same place as me was very helpful.”

Jordan Forbes is all smiles during FAMU's Spring 2024 commencement exercises.
Jordan Forbes is all smiles during FAMU’s Spring 2024 commencement exercises.

Bowen is planning to pursue a career in producing, and Forbes, after giving herself a much-earned break, has plans to continue her interest in book or magazine publishing. They stress the importance of being curious and continuous learning, but also suggest students to “take their time and enjoy all the offerings available at FAMU.

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