Her passions for traveling, adventure, new experiences, and storytelling inspired her to pitch an idea, called the Live Outside and Play project, to Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine. 

Jessie, known as “Jess” to her friends and readers, graduated from Emory & Henry College with a Bachelor of Arts in both Creative Communications and French Literature. She is working as Travel Editor for Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine based in Charlottesville, Va. When asked about what inspired her to her work and her career goals, she said, “I've always wanted to see the world…Meeting new people from different backgrounds and cultures is what inspires me to continue traveling. Couple that with my love for adventure and you've got one restless soul.” Even from a young age, Jess said that she was drawn to foreign languages. She successfully completed her French Literature major and had dabbled in Spanish, Portuguese, and even studied Chinese for a year.

From horseback riding as a kid to whitewater raft guiding on the New River Gorge in college, Jess has always had a passion for the outdoors. In Fall 2011, Jess participated in a semester expedition with NOLS through the southern part of the Amazon Basin, where she experienced the diverse environment and species of the Amazon. She said that her goal when she came to college was “to in some way, shape, or form, combine all of those passions for traveling, adventure, new experiences, and sharing stories. Though [she] currently travels throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states, [she] would like to continue following [her] present career track around the world.” Her favorite hobbies include all-things-outdoors—kayaking, slacklining, mountain biking, climbing, and trail running are her go-tos, but she also works on her yoga a few times a week.


 Jess works her way up the Red River Gorge in east–central Kentucky. 

Jess works her way up the Red River Gorge in east–central Kentucky. 

My favorite memory of E&H comes from my senior year of college. Just a week or so before we all graduated, a group of my friends and I hiked out on the Iron Mountain Trail and camped together for the last time. As I looked around the campfire, I was pretty proud to see the diversity of my friend circle—there was a mathematician, a philosopher, an environmentalist, an economist, a biologist, and me, the writer. Though we all would chose different paths in life, we were united by our love of the outdoors and that, along with our alma mater, is what continues to keep us connected over two years later.
— Jess Daddio ‘13, Travel Editor at Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine

We believe the best way to learn about our Honors Program is from our students. Therefore, we used this opportunity to ask Jess some questions that you may have been wondering.

Q: How did your involvement in the Honors Program influence your overall experience at E&H?
A: Being a part of the Honors Program challenged me to think outside the classroom setting and apply what I was learning to the world at-large.

Q: How would you describe the character of the Honors Program?
A: It’s challenging for sure, but in a way that helps you attain your goals and do the best you can do.

Q: What are the life-long benefits of being in the Honors Program?
A: Life-long benefits include a good work ethic, thinking critically, and collaborating effectively.

Q: Just extra work? What was the Honors Program to you?
A: The Honors Program was the means by which I was able to truly apply my academic pursuits with my passions for the outdoors and story-telling.

Photograph Description: Jess bouldering at the Grayson Highlands State Park located in Southwest Virginia. Photography by Tommy Penick