Jasmine Ivy is a higher education and student affairs graduate student from Chicago
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Major: Higher education and student affairs graduate student
What is your anticipated graduation year? May 2022.
What financial assistance have you received? How has the financial support impacted your experience at NIU?
I am currently a Rhoten Smith Scholar, so I am receiving my graduate degree for free and getting paid through this assistantship. It has been so helpful because I wasn't sure how I was going to pay for school. I didn't want to take on any more debt through loans, and I wanted to gain experience in the field I am soon going to be entering.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
Growing up, I wanted to be a dentist. Since I was younger, I've wanted to take so many paths and different careers because I have multiple interests. But I have finally found a field that I am truly passionate about.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
My undergraduate degree was a B.S. in rehabilitation and disability services and my graduate degree will be a M.S.Ed in higher education and student affairs. I chose to pursue this degree because I want to help students, especially students of color, enjoy their college career. There are going to be so many changes a student can go through, and without the right mentorship and guidance it can be challenging. I believe that if every student has a hero in their journey, they'll be able to excel no matter what is going on in their surroundings, negative or positive. I have been fortunate enough to have multiple heroes be a part of my story throughout my time here at NIU.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
I have been a Huskie since 2014 and when I originally came to college I didn't know what to expect. I used to go home so much because I missed my family and wasn't used to being away, but one day I decided to get involved because I loved doing community service. That led me to my boss, Monique Bernoudy, offering my graduate research position with the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. When I began working with ADEI, I was not expecting to enjoy and love my job as much as I do. Every day I get the opportunity to learn something different about not only my community but those around me, network, use my public speaking skills, discover new research, present that research, and continually mold into the professional that I am and still becoming.
Are you involved in any student organizations or extra-curricular activities? If so, which ones? How have they added to your experience as a Huskie?
As an undergraduate, I was a part of so many different organizations, including the Campus Activities Board, John Henrik Clarke Honor Society, Black Student Union, The Succeed and Success Plan, E.B.O.N.Y. Women, and the Delta Omicron Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. As a graduate student, I am currently serving as the graduate advisor to E.B.O.N.Y. Women and I am still a member of AKA because that is a lifelong commitment. I have served in leadership positions for all of the organizations I have been a part of, but my favorite was serving as president of AKA. I developed a great deal professionally because it taught me how to utilize all of my resources, get over my fear of public speaking, and become more social.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
My favorite professors are Dr. Laverne Gyant and Dr. Eric Hall. Dr. Gyant teaches my master-level courses about students of color in higher education, and Dr. Hall taught the very first Black studies course I ever took, BKST 201. Both of them have challenged me in ways that benefitted my professional, personal, and academic growth. Their mentorship made me look at my environment and myself in ways that I would have never thought of to begin with.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
My favorite spot on campus is Stevenson Towers. I still remember the first day I moved into the dorms. I have so many memories from getting my first job in the Stevenson dining hall to hanging out with friends in the New Orleans Room to hosting my first programs within my organizations.
What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
When you go off to college, just enjoy everything that will come along with your journey! You will make mistakes, that is inevitable, but own up and learn from them. During college, you're going to find and lose yourself and that's okay because you are growing into adulthood. When things get frustrating or disheartening, keep pursuing because you have a story to tell. And try your best to get a 4.0 your first semester on campus.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I use my Sundays as a self-care day. No matter what I have going on in the week, I will never schedule anything to do on Sundays. I use that day to clean and organize my apartment because it calms me, turn on one of my many favorite shows or movies, and look up different types of plants that I want to add to my collection. I typically tell all my loved ones I am turning off my phone to just be alone and to not have any contact with anyone and take some time away from social media.