Major: Social Work
The Foundation: Last time we heard from you, you were sharing your experience at ScholarCon last year. What lessons from the event are you still using?
Jasmeen: I learned tons of useful lessons at ScholarCon, but the main things I’ve implemented are bringing a sense of community to the student organizations I am a part of and reminding myself to face adversity head on.
To bring a sense of community to the organizations I’m an active member of, — Student Social Work Association (SSWA), SIUE Black Girls Rock, the Vice Chancellor’s Office’s SIUE 1st Generation program — I have encouraged hosting more social events for their members. For example, I helped develop an SSWA Social event at Edison’s Entertainment Complex. This helped our members and their family and friends have a chance to mix, mingle, and have fun. We raised about $500, which will be dispersed amongst several of our charity efforts.
One prominent thing that I have recognized is nearly every student faces adversity. When the motivational speaker at ScholarCon said to “face adversity head on,” that really stuck with me. I was struggling to get my E-Guarantee scholarship back at the time (which had been taken away because of budget cuts at SIUE). As I boarded the plane to ScholarCon, I was on the phone with a financial aid advisor at SIUE and I had been communicating with them for a month prior. I was almost ready to give up, but hearing the stories of adversity from students working just as hard as me and getting the bit of reassurance for the speaker made me want to keep pushing for the funds that I deserved.
A couple of weeks after ScholarCon, I was able to get people at my internship (at the Office of the Inspector General for DCFS) to help me advocate to regain my scholarship. Luckily, they were able to assist me and I regained my scholarship before the semester began. Consequently, I always tell students that there will be challenges and failures, but they must never give up. Always advocate for yourself and develop allies along the way.
What’s been your greatest accomplishment this school year, outside and inside the classroom?
During the spring semester, I was chosen for an undergraduate research assistantship position. I consider this an outstanding accomplishment because I am completing research with the director of the bachelors of social work program. She was one of my most challenging professors that I have encountered at college.
My main accomplishment outside of the classroom, is I have been accepted into three graduate social work programs at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and Loyola University in Chicago. UIUC has offered me a tuition waiver for two of the three semesters I will have to complete. (more…)
By Jasmeen Wellere, Pullman Scholar.
“ScholarCon was one of the best experiences I have ever had!” This is what my National Collegiate Scholars chapter president, Jamal Sims, explained to us during my first chapter meeting. I was somewhat exposed to ScholarCon through a flood of emails when I joined the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) as a freshmen and I just wrote it off as spam mail. During Jamal’s presentation about ScholarCon is when it became “real” to me and not just a stream of emails. As our chapter became more active I began to seriously consider ScholarCon as an event I wanted to attend.
Unfortunately, the cost was overwhelming and our fundraising attempts failed, so I had to cross ScholarCon off my to-do list. It was disappointing, but my thought was that “there’s always next year.” Surprisingly, that opportunity resurfaced sooner than I expected! I received an email from Robin Redmond, executive director of the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation, stating that they were able to fund a trip for two Pullman Scholars to attend ScholarCon. I was flabbergasted and I just knew it was meant for me to go—I mean, what are the odds that this could be happening to me twice? I replied immediately and just prayed that I would be chosen. (more…)