I recently had the opportunity to talk with Jasmine Jones about education and business. Jasmine is the Assistant Director of Admissions at Saint Leo University, Gainesville Educational Center. In our conversation she speaks candidly about how being a non-traditional student has prepared her to serve and mentor current and prospective students. Her experiences and compassion allow her to encourage others to take the next step on their journey to higher education.
What motivates you most in your current role?
My main motivation in my role as the Assistant Director of Admissions at Saint Leo University – Gainesville Educational Center is to simply give to people what has been given to me. I was a first-generation college student and obtained my degree through adult continuing education. I attained my master’s degree while working full time. I have been through many of the scenarios that our Saint Leo students can go through: How do I fill out a FASFA form, what are office hours, where do I buy books, which degree should I choose? There are so many questions that need answers in order to become a successful student. As the face of admissions for the Gainesville Education Center, I simply want to make sure prospective students have the best experience possible. This includes being transparent, answering questions, easing fears, and getting students as prepared as possible to start this journey. I do not work alone; there is a team of good people that have the same goal!
How does your role at Saint Leo tie into or influence the business climate of Gainesville?
Saint Leo University is the prime location for Gainesville businesses to attain proper talent for the positions they need both now and in the future. There is a direct correlation between our graduates and the workforce of Gainesville. A great example is our Education and Social Work programs. Most of our graduates have attained work immediately after graduation in Gainesville and surrounding cities. We even had a social work student who gained employment before graduation. At Saint Leo, we are making sure that when students leave, they will be able to apply their knowledge at a job of their choice. That is the key to higher education: It provides students with choices. Our students choose us, and we choose to put our all into their educational advancement so they can choose employers that fund their dreams and provide for their families.
Do you think that higher learning builds a better community?
Absolutely! I believe that higher learning is a cornerstone in building a better future for communities all over, especially in Gainesville. In higher education, a lot of the learning happens after the classes are over. However, the tools you need to maneuver “real life learning,” you gain in the classroom, like teamwork. The needs of communities are ever-changing. Roads need to be fixed, infrastructure needs building or repaired, outreach programs are needed, and more. Who will the community come to for answers to these problems? Ms. Smith who has a BSW in social work, Mr. John who has a master’s in business administration or Mrs. Thomas who has an AA in computer systems and C+ Certified. These are the people who will be equipped with the knowledge to apply and create solutions for our communities’ present and future needs.
Is there anything that you would like to share with our readers? Don’t be afraid to take the next step in your educational journey! You may have just graduated from high school, or it may have been a decade since you set foot in a classroom. You may be looking to get promoted, boost your wages, or change careers.
By Virginia Grant