Meet the 50th Miss Black EIU Jaedah Franks

Chandler Smith, Reporter

Jaedah Franks discusses how winning 2022 Miss Black EIU has impacted her. (Ashanti Thomas)

Miss Black EIU has been around for five decades and is one of the most important celebrations for Black students that are recognizing African American Heritage month at Eastern.

Jaedah Franks, the 2022 Miss Black EIU and a junior biological science major, commented on some of the things that she has enjoyed since winning the pageant.

“My biggest accomplishment has to be making the connections that I’ve made within the African American community and just around campus,” Franks said. “A lot of people come up to me and they notice me due to me being Miss Black EIU, so it actually makes me feel good inside that I have made an impact on campus where people know me in a positive setting.”

Being that impactful allows Franks to feel very important in the EIU community. The experience that the Miss Black EIU student has had in her life made a difference with her being the face for the EIU African American community and made her a stronger individual.

“I was a very shy person,” Franks said. “I’ve always been friendly, but I’ve always been shy to initiate a conversation or just be that friendly face on campus. So when I became Miss Black EIU, it allowed me to practice my social skills in a way and be able to just communicate with me and everybody. And I feel like it has really played a role in just being social all around.”

Being a shy individual, let alone a student can be tough for a lot of students on campus. The pageant itself has allowed Franks to set herself at a higher standard for what she expects out of herself in life. Some students may want to set that standard for themselves.

“It has allowed me to always be on my P’s and Q’s in a way has taught me since [I’ve] grown up that no matter what you’re doing, someone is always watching,” Franks said. “So it’s allowed me to just be more aware of myself and how I’m carrying myself around campus. I’ve always I want to say I’ve always been a well kept female. But being Ms. Black EIU held me to a higher standard,” Franks said.

The standard that Franks has set for herself has made her go for the goals she wants out of life. Franks is trying to reach her goals at Eastern, and she has added some additional goals, with her interests being pre-medicine and in public health and exercise science.

“I want to do my master’s program in exercise science or something around that area, so in between time I can be an athletic trainer,” Franks said. “That’s also something I wanted to do.”

Some Black students may feel pressure when it comes to discussions in classes. Franks has also felt the pressure, and as a Black woman, understands it, especially while having certain conversations in the classroom.

“I feel like, honestly, being an African American student on campus can be hard at times, especially when you’re in classes touching those touchy subjects about like race and different things that happened in the Black community,” Franks said.

Eastern’s campus has many resources to support the African American community such as Black Student Union. There are supportive individuals on campus, and students have many ways to connect with others. Miss Black EIU has impacted individuals in the Eastern community.


Chandler Smith can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].