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Student Profile: Jade McNair

IMG_3257 [182961] (1) Jade McNair of Columbia, South Carolina is a junior majoring in Building Construction in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies with a minor in Spanish. One day, she hopes to start her own international construction company in Vancouver, Canada. What began as a class project in 2014 became an organization called Building Women In Construction, established by McNair and two other women majoring in Building Construction.

What made you choose Virginia Tech?

Most of my family lives near the Virginia Beach area, so I was kind of born into the Hokie life. Plus, down in South Carolina they don’t really have a building construction major, so I gravitated towards Virginia Tech.

Why did you choose Building Construction?

I love buildings. I always thought I wanted to do architectural engineering, right up until my senior year of high school. I looked into the Building Construction major at Virginia Tech and it seemed small. I like the fact that you have the faculty to student ratio that’s 1:3. I like that interaction. As for the buildings part, I love to see how it can be grass one day and months down the road it’s this huge building. The process has always fascinated me.

What made you start the Building Women In Construction Group?

It started out as a class project. There were five of us in BC Seminar with Mills, and he had everyone start an organization or something within the major. Two of us took it and ran with it because we liked the idea of getting the women in the class involved. My first class it was 70 people and there were only four girls. We have women from Building Construction, Construction Management, Architecture, Residential Design – basically anything that comes back to buildings. We bring companies in sometimes. Two people got internships through our organization last year, so we just try to get women comfortable with the industry and make sure they have opportunities.

What do you do in Building Women in Construction?

We actually do a lot, which surprises people because we are such a new organization. A few things that we do are: have interest meetings, bring construction companies to speak to our members in a social setting, hold bake sales throughout the semester, participate in community service, and go to schools to talk to students about construction. We also help sponsor industry days, which is when we bring in many different companies on one day and allow anyone to come and listen to what the representatives have to say, as well as allow for questions that someone wouldn’t normally be willing to ask in a more formal setting.

Who is going to carry on your legacy when you leave?

We’re actually doing induction-type activities next semester. It’s going to be a shadow program, so whoever wants to apply for the exec teams is going to shadow us for the semester and then we’re going to turn it over to them the next year and watch them because most of us graduate after that. It gives them time to understand their positions.

What are you passionate about?

I am very passionate about helping others. I am a tutor for math and reading at the elementary, middle, and high schools around the Blacksburg area, which I enjoy because I am able to watch students improve themselves which will help them in the long run when they apply to college. I do talk about Virginia Tech to them, so I hope I can persuade them to come here.

To learn more about Building Women In Construction, check them out online, or email Jade at