Class of 2019: Jasmin Chavez

McDaniel College senior Jasmin Chavez
April 23, 2019

Jasmin Chavez is a Spanish and Political Science double major from Falls Church, Virginia.

When I took my first step on the Hill, I felt: at home. McDaniel was welcoming and I enjoyed talking to students and professors. In my heart I knew that McDaniel was going to be my home for the next four years. Being here felt right.

The me who will ring the Old Main bell on Commencement Day is: the woman that I was meant to be. The woman who will be ringing the bell is a resilient, passionate, and successful woman who will accomplish whatever she sets her mind to.

Aha moment: Learning about “Guernica,” the famous painting by Pablo Picasso blew me away. I had no idea that there was so much symbolism in one work of art. I fell in love with it because it’s complex and astonishing to look at.

Footprints I’m leaving on the Hill: Bringing a League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) chapter to McDaniel has been one of the most transformative experiences of my life. Having the opportunity to empower my council members so that they can serve as advocates in their respective communities has transformed the way I view leadership. To me, being a leader is more about serving as a mentor to those who wish to make an impact in their communities. McDaniel LULAC has organized important town halls and teach-ins, brought comedian Ernie G. to campus, organized voter registration drives, sent 10 students to the Emerge Latino conference in Washington, D.C. for three years straight now, lobbied on Capitol Hill, and increased awareness about issues that affect the Latino community.

LULAC is my footprint on the Hill. I’m just thankful to have spent my four years at an institution that supported me. I have so many individuals at McDaniel cheering me on, and I’m incredibly thankful for them.

Professor who most influenced who I have become: Spanish professor Amy McNichols has pushed me to study abroad, has empowered me to learn more about my culture, and has been great at connecting me with different opportunities. When I came in my freshman year, she was the first professor to take me under her wing and for that I will always be grateful. 

My mentor. For life.: Political Science and International Studies professor Christianna Leahy. My hope is to be as amazing as Dr. Leahy someday. She is outspoken, humble, and brilliant. She inspires me to not be afraid to use my voice and to be a leader who leads by example.

Best class ever: The best class I ever took at McDaniel was The Cultural History of Spain with Spanish professor Tom Deveny. Every class was exciting, thought-provoking, and truly informative. I loved going to that class. Not only did I learn a lot about Spain, but I discovered that I have a love for art and architecture.

Took me totally by surprise: I was really surprised when I learned how to belly dance during my freshman year and was actually pretty good at it.

My favorite spot on campus: My favorite spot on campus is where the fountain is. I love reading the quotes on the side. The quotes inspire me when I’m not having a good day. Sitting there always makes me think of Victor McTeer, a McDaniel alum who has watched me grow over the years and always gives me advice when he sees me. He inspires me to pursue my dreams of becoming an immigration attorney.

Real world experiences: My favorite internship was definitely the summer between my junior and senior years at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) as a HACU Corporate intern. I gained so much professional experience. I had the opportunity to travel and represent EDF at different conferences across the country, lobby on Capitol Hill, attend briefings, and have written policy assignments.

My semester studying in Oaxaca, Mexico, was a life-changing experience. I grew personally and professionally during my experience abroad and have become much more grounded in who I am and my purpose in this world. During the summer of my freshman year, I had the opportunity to serve as a Young Ambassador intern at the White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics, and the following summer I served as the UCLA Dream Summer Fellow at the Advancement Project.

What’s next: I’m joining Benach Collopy LLP in Washington, D.C., as a paralegal when I graduate to gain some experience before I go off to law school at Georgetown Law next year. Someday I hope to become a U.S. Senator.