Alumni Highlight: Jasmine Young

Jasmine Young, BAIS '14, Legal Studies
Jasmine Young, BAIS '14, Legal Studies

When Jasmine Young (BAIS '14, Legal Studies) graduated from New Century College in May 2014 she was juggling more than a few things. She worked on campus as a resident advisor and at the university information desk. She was a full-time student with a 3.6 grade point average preparing for law school. She was a successful competitor in state and national level pageants. And, her mother was battling breast cancer and passed two months before graduation.

Looking back on her final semester at NCC, Young said, “My Mason community was like family to me. They were very supportive and they made it possible for me to succeed.”

Whenever she was able, Young travelled to her home in Chesapeake, VA, to spend time with her mother, sister and other family. Despite the loss of her mother, Young graduated on time, and pursued her plans to attend law school, winning the prestigious Miss Black Virginia title along the way.

Young said, “When she was sick, I told my mom that I’d do another pageant, and to win another state title was amazing.”

At her many public appearances and outreach events, Young shares her optimism and determination with young people. While other pageant contenders highlight their singing or musical talent during competition, Young delivers stirring speeches. At one pageant, Young scripted her own version of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech to include her hopes for the young generation.

She said, “I want them to know they will be able to go on without their main motivation. My mom instilled that in me. Push through your troubles and you’ll make it.”

Young uses her public appearances to connect with young people, encouraging them to work hard in pursuit of their goals. She appreciates the opportunity to reach young women and offer them a connection.

Young said, “I find it personally very impactful because we [pageant participants] directly reach out to people in our community.”

Young credits much of this connection to community with her family, and also with several New Century College professors including Suzanne Scott Constantine (NCLC 475: Racial/Ethnic Visual Representations) and Nicholas Lennon (NCLC 404: Ethics and Leadership) who inspired respectful, thoughtful dialogue in the classroom.

Now as a law student at Elon University in North Carolina, Young continues with her outreach, but restricts public appearances and competitions to weekends, prioritizing her weekdays for classes and homework.

“Law school is very demanding. Getting into the flow of how you want to study is important. Learning to write, read and speak like a lawyer is critical,” she said.

Young hopes to pursue a career in corporate or nonprofit law, finding these fields intellectually fascinating. She also plans to continue competing in pageants. Since moving to North Carolina, Young has won the Miss Greensboro title, and hopes to compete at the state level pageant in 2016.