Alumni Spotlight: Jasmine Jackson
A Journey of Perseverance and Justice Advocacy
Since childhood, Jasmine Jackson '23 has been accustomed to drawing parallels between herself and Martin Luther King Jr. due to their shared birthday. This connection has propelled her toward the pursuit of justice from the start.
"From the beginning of my life, I knew I wanted to become a lawyer," Jackson said. "It was set in stone for me since birth."
Jackson's journey started at the University of North Carolina where she studied political science and peace, war, and defense. From there, she joined the Scholars Program at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and moved to Washington, DC. Being in the nation's capital strengthened her desire to fight for justice, so she applied to American University Washington College of Law.
"I wanted to go to American University for my undergraduate, but my mother preferred me to stay close to home during that time," she said. "That, coupled with the fact that the part-time program ranked nationally at the time, pushed me to apply here," she said. "Being at AUWCL, I could also continue to look for professional opportunities in Washington, DC, where I have access to professional networks that are powerful and prestigious."
Jackson became a law student part-time while working at the DIA. Even while juggling the heavy demands of law school and a full-time career, she managed to be part of the Mock Trial Honor Society. With a desire to focus on her dream of becoming a lawyer, she transitioned to full-time for her final year.
"I did not feel like I had any professional legal experience because I was already working a full-time job," she said. "I asked my leadership at work for a leave of absence to do law school full-time. I was a little behind on being able to finish in 3 years because I was a part-time student for 2 years, but I persevered and maxed out my academic schedule, took 7 summer credits, and graduated in the time that I had desired."
Jackson is a force to be reckoned with. Facing the challenge of supporting her mortgage and financing her last year of law school during her hiatus from the DIA, she pursued scholarships and funding for both her legal education and professional development and came across the Sarita & Claire Foundation Scholarship.
"I called my congressperson and my state senator and asked their offices for funding for my legal education, and I received it," Jackson said. "My advice to incoming students looking for funding is to step outside of the box when looking for opportunities. Ask your state representatives, you never know what award you might receive."
The Sarita & Claire Foundation Scholarship provides financial assistance for young Black women who are committed to public service. Their goal is to expand the reach of the scholarship fund and support the Scholarship awardees financially during their first and second attempt at passing the Bar Exam. Jackson passed the Maryland Bar in July 2023 and graduated with her JD in May. She starts a new role this month as an entry-level attorney at the Department of Justice through the DOJ's honors program.
~Story by Hasini Jayawardena.