Biochemistry Student Ambassador

Jasmine Sanders

Photo of Jasmine Sanders.Jasmine is majoring in Biochemistry and double minoring in Sociology and Spanish. She is a member and Ambassador for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. She was awarded the prestigious Stamps scholarship in 2022. On campus, she participates in the Honors College Minority Engagement Council, Chi Alpha, NAACP, and the American Chemical Society. In her free time, she volunteers at the Jackson Free Clinic.

Why did you choose to attend UM?
I chose to attend UM because I loved the beautiful campus and the honors college! I was very drawn to the feel of walking around campus and all of the beautiful scenery as well as the amazing academic and professional opportunities the university has to offer. The scholarship I received to attend was just a cherry on top, and I am so grateful to attend such a generous university and to be a part of such a prestigious community of students within the College of Liberal Arts!

When and why did you choose your major(s)/minors?
I chose my major sophomore year of high school and my minors senior year. I knew I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon going into high school, but I still didn’t know what major I wanted. After taking high school level chemistry and biology, I grew an even greater love for both but knew I wanted to do something in the chemistry department. After researching what options are available for students who are interested in chemistry, I decided on biochemistry because it seemed like the perfect mix between bio and chem, both of which I needed to be a premed student. As for my minors, I decided on those senior year after writing my senior thesis about health disparities. Health disparities are discrepancies in quality and access to care due to socioeconomic factors including race, income, culture, etc. I strive to be a medical professional that is culturally conscious and able to break down cultural barriers and prejudices so that health care can be amazing for each and every individual no matter who they are or where they are from. Studying sociology gives me that wholistic perspective of the sociological influences on health, and I would like to become fluent in Spanish by the time I’ve obtained my degree!

What are your career goals?
I plan to graduate from college a year early, so I am going to take a gap year and begin medical school applications and also work and save. During this time, I will probably also work on getting some of my work published. After that, I intend to go to medical school to become an orthopedic surgeon with a sports medicine specialization.

Is there a professor who has been particularly helpful to you?
Surprisingly enough, my most challenging class last academic school year was my favorite class. It was a general chemistry class, and I took it with Professor Steven Davis who is the sweetest man and an amazing teacher. Believe it or not, I looked forward to going to chemistry class because the environment he created was not only fun but also a comfortable environment for learning and asking questions. He cared about each and every one of our understanding of the material and performance in the class, and I was able to finish both semesters with high marks due to his great teaching! This class was very impactful because even though the class was difficult, I was encouraged by the fun that I had despite still having to put work in and was amazed at the positive outcomes that came from keeping a positive attitude and not giving up!

What do you like to do outside of school (hobbies, interests)?
When I have downtime, one of my favorite places to go is Lamar Park. My friends and I usually get food and have little picnics there in the evenings when the weather is nice. I also love going to different shops on the Square and browsing the bookstores.

What are you binge watching/reading/listening to?
I am currently binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy, actually. I am a little late to the game, but I always hear people talking about it, so I figured I’d give it a go. Another fav for me right now is The Mindy Project on Netflix! As for books, I am currently reading two different books. The “fun” book I am currently reading is the second book of the Firebird trilogy by Claudia Gray and the other is a book by the Benham brothers called Living Amongst Lions.

What are some dream travel destinations (and why)?
I would love to travel to Spain and study abroad there. It is one of my goals to go there and become fluent in Spanish as well as travel around and see some different parts of Europe. My mom studied abroad there when she was in college and said it was one of the best things she ever got to do during undergrad.

What is one thing you wish you knew as an incoming freshman that you’d tell your past self (about the general college experience)?
I would tell myself, “Contrary to what you believed coming in, it is harder to adjust to being in college than you think. Adjusting to being so far from home is difficult at times, learning to navigate new friendships and also your newfound freedom can be quite intimidating, but give yourself a month or so to adjust and continue to meet new people every chance you get. Put your best foot forward when it comes to your classes and if you feel lost and overwhelmed you are not the only one who feels that way. It’s going to feel uncomfortable. It’s going to feel a little bit like starting school for the first time all over again because it’s new and scary but give it time because you will find comfortability.”