Jade Womack is working to bring a sense of community similar to the one she found at Virginia Tech to residents of Washington, D.C.

She created Clockout D.C., a calendar blog with a popular Instagram following that provides tourists and locals with information on upcoming events in and around the metropolitan area. Clockout gained over 30,000 Instagram followers in the past year and a half.

“I was bartending one summer in addition to working my government job,” Womack said. “I was looking for things to do that were not happy hour because that’s what D.C. is known for — happy hour and museums.”

Womack would research events happening in the city and put together lists, which led to the creation of Clockout D.C. in October 2020. That then led to her newest side gig as a culture editor at the Washingtonian, a magazine guide to life in Washington, D.C.

“I was a blogger in my room writing, not thinking that I would get this following,” she said. “Honestly, it’s wild. This was a hobby. I didn’t think I was going to become a journalist.”

Womack graduated magna cum laude in 2015 with a degree in applied economics management from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. During her four years in Blacksburg, she was involved in the Honors College, Young Democrats, and the Coalition for Refugee Resettlement, and she conducted undergraduate research.

Her scattered interests led her down a winding path on which she changed her major five times. She started out studying landscape architecture, and by the time she graduated she had tried international development, political science, French, and, finally, economics.

“I took a semester — my freshman year in the spring — of classes I thought were just interesting,” Womack said. “I took beekeeping. I took an ROTC class on Tomahawk cruise missiles just for fun. I took a class of history of American cities, and then I took one of my first economics classes. I took a lot of fun classes because I was kind of lost.”

Through guidance from professors, she discovered what she wanted to do.

The summer after her freshman year, she worked at a McDonald’s in West Virginia during the peak of the opioid crisis.

When she returned to Virginia Tech that fall, she spoke with Edward Weisband, the Edward S. Diggs Endowed Chair in the Social Sciences, about the poverty she witnessed.

He told her, “If you want to know why people are poor, you have to know how wealth is created, and you need to study economics,” Womack said

She did, and through her studies, she gained a deeper understanding of the subject at a broader societal level. In 2017, she also earned a master’s degree from Cornell University’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

Weisband wasn’t the only professor to impact Womack during her time at Virginia Tech.

Peter Wallenstein, a history professor, is another.

Though Womack never took any of his classes, she gives him much of the credit for her success.

“Pretty much every day after my classes, I would just swing on by — my little 18-year-old self — chatter, chatter, chatter, chatter with this man, and he became like my mentor,” Womack said. “He helped write all my letters for undergraduate research, and he even wrote one of my letters for grad school.”

Today, when she’s not updating her followers on events around D.C. or writing newsletters for the Washingtonian, she’s at her day job as an energy economist for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“I work as an economist in the federal government where I regulate mergers of energy companies,” Womack said. “I work in antitrust is the best way to put it.”

She remembers fondly the community she developed while at Virginia Tech and the university motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). She hopes to provide a similar sense of community for D.C. residents through her coverage of niche events.

“Virginia Tech is very special, because when we talk about ‘That I May Serve,’ it has such a sense of community,” Womack said. “I’m able to introduce people to the city in a very local way, but also show people where they can find community.”

By Savannah Webb '23, University Relations intern

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