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Alumni News

 

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT

Jasmine Jafari '14


 

 Jasmine received her bachelors in psychology from UCLA, where she played Quidditch, chaired the Student Health Advisory Committee, and taught her own psychology class last spring. She has devoted her life to service and advocacy, having volunteered with the American Red Cross since she was in 8th grade and serving on their board for 5 years, as well as serving on healthcare and insurance boards throughout the UC system. She has since devoted her public policy skills and passion for humanitarianism towards medicine, intending to serve both as a physician and patient health advocate. She credits her journey's start to SMC, where she was Inter-Club Council Chair and a President's Ambassador. 

Where are you now?

Currently I am a first-year medical student at UC Riverside, where I am training to ultimately specialize in Internal Medicine. While a majority of the first two years are devoted to didactic learning, I'm very lucky to be a part of a program that incorporates clinical experience from the beginning, allowing me to partner with physicians at Kaiser Permanente where I have begun seeing patients. I also get to volunteer medical services at the Riverside Free Clinic for homeless and underinsured patients. 

How did your experience at Santa Monica College influence your life? Your current career?

When I arrived at SMC, I lacked strong study skills or a confident direction but was determined to take a few science classes to prove I was capable. Thanks to the many opportunities at SMC, I not only got to discover a wealth of career options available to me, but also gained my passion for leadership through student government and clubs. I love SMC because it's truly a place where anything can happen; I got exposed to such a diverse breadth of people and experiences I never would have had in a locked-in degree program with traditional students. Everyone here genuinely roots for you, which means even your loftiest goals start to seem attainable here. 

Shout Out! To a faculty or staff member that made a difference.

It's impossible to pick one! Thank you to Benny Blaydes and Michal Temkin, for supporting me and helping me navigate my academic dreams; to Drs. Kline and Murphy for feeding my passion for chemistry (and humoring the medical school idea); and to Professor Eric Oifer, for believing I could become even president if I truly applied my focus.

Words of wisdom to share with future alumni.

You are in a unique position full of many opportunities you can sample with relatively low risk, while also having access to many resources to help you dive deep into any field. Few other situations in life will have such low opportunity cost to truly, excitedly do anything. Take advantage, try as many things as interest you, get to know your professors and when you find what you love, go for it! 

What's Next?

While I'll be in medical school and residency for the next 7 years, my health advocacy dreams aren't on hold until then. I've had the opportunity to serve on the UC SHIP Executive Oversight Board for the past 2 years, where I work on expanding insurance benefits for all students in the UC System. I also recently joined the American Medical Association, and hope to expand my impact beyond student health throughout my region at a policy level, in addition to volunteering locally. I am currently designing a summer project exploring the impacts of virtual reality and alternative control mechanisms in gaming on motor and neural engagement. 

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