Jasmine Jenkins:  From summer camp to “making things happen”

Growing up in the Bronx, Jasmine Jenkins had made up her mind that when she went away to college it would be at a small school in a rural area so she could prepare to be a veterinarian.  SUNY Cobleskill was exactly what she had in mind. “I liked that SUNY Cobleskill had a lot of hands-on programs,” she said.  “I enjoyed being in a rural area—it is very different from the Bronx.”

Once on campus, Jenkins served as an RA and a senior student ambassador who led tours of the College.  She found her extracurricular involvement to be very rewarding but on an academic level, her weakness in science made her realize that, for her, becoming a veterinarian might not be the best choice.  So after changing her major to Liberal Arts, she graduated with an associate’s degree in humanities and planned to pursue business studies at Cobleskill with the goal of adding BBA to her signature line.

Going even further from home, Jenkins expanded her horizons by participating in a study abroad course to Costa Rica in 2013 and a trip that took her to Iceland, Germany and Holland last summer. The travel bug earned her the spot of Vice President of the Global Ambassadors Network on campus.

Her decision to change majors was supported by the fact that she shined as a student and was inducted into Epsilon Pi Tau honor society.  “I love all my management classes, so I knew I wanted to go in that direction,” she said.  “I hope to be a manager of something—I don’t know what—but I’m interested in international business and I would like to go abroad.”

This spring, in the last semester of her senior year, she had the chance to flex her management muscles back home in the Bronx.  As an intern at the Police Athletic League (PAL) in Union Square in New York City, she was a volunteer engagement intern, recruiting volunteers for programs that involve young NYC people in empowerment and cultural activities.

“In 7th, 8th and 9th grades I was in a PAL summer day camp program, and as a college student I volunteered to work with PAL in the summer,” Jenkins explained.  The PAL managers were so impressed with her work that summer that they told her to contact them if she ever needed to do an internship, which she did this spring—her final semester.

As a volunteer, she worked with kids from kindergarten through 8th grade in the program, but as an intern, she was involved primarily in planning events and “making things happen.”

“My supervisor lets me do everything, including making big decisions,” Jenkins proudly noted.  “I ask a lot of questions and consult with her.  She checks up on me and gives a lot of feedback on what I am doing.”

In February and March, Jenkins worked on the annual Youth Empowerment Conference that had a theme of using hip hop to empower youth.  “My responsibility was to create a hip hop timeline and to make a booklet for the kids to study,” Jenkins explained.  “On the day of the event, the kids went on a scavenger hunt and they had to answer all the questions that came from that booklet.”

Meeting Def poet, LaBruja, was the prize for winners of a DJ battle, and Spoken Word and Poetry contests. The singer spoke to them as a mentor and sang and shared poetry with the winners.

“There is a lot of work that goes into it,” Jenkins found.  “But it is so great to see the product of what you’ve done.  It feels good.”

Supreme Court Justice Satomayar, who hails from the Bronx, was the guest of honor at another event.  “She spoke about being a female minority and the struggle to succeed and how that has empowered her,” Jenkins said.  “It was so inspiring, and I am currently reading the book about her journey to the Supreme Court—My Beloved World.”

Paul Gemmiti, Jenkins’ advisor said that he was not surprised to hear from her internship site supervisor that she was going well beyond the duties prescribed in the internship learning agreement.  “Her maturity, intelligence, personality, and work ethic will carry her a long way,” he predicted.

This weekend (May 10), Jenkins will have finished her internship and studies, and she will have completed her BBA.  Though once again she will return to the Bronx to work for PAL with support from the Summer Youth Employment Program, after the summer winds to an end, she is likely to do what her advisor predicts by going a long way. “I want to find an internship abroad, and because I have been fascinated with Japan for a long time,” she said, “I think I’d like to go there.”


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