Turning Dreams into Plans
Having grown up near the campus of Tuskegee University, Jasmine McDonald was taught the importance of higher education at an early age. “My late grandparents were very college and academics-oriented, so a question that has driven me throughout my education has been ‘How will I make them proud of me?'” she says.
McDonald, who graduated in May with a B.S. in Chemistry, has done a lot to be proud of during her UMBC years. As a Meyerhoff scholar working in Dr. Michael Summers’ Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) lab, she was part of a research team whose findings were published in The Journal of Molecular Biology.
She also worked in the Boulder, Colorado, HHMI lab of Nobel Prize winner Dr. Thomas Cech. Back at home, she has spent her past year doing research in the Molecular Microbiology and Immunology Department of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Last summer took her to Connecticut, where she worked for Pfizer Global Research and Development.
Over the past two years, McDonald honed her leadership skills as president of UMBC’s Golden Key International Honors Society, which she led through two community service projects per month. She also participated in various service projects through the Meyerhoff program, ranging from picking spinach for the homeless on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to clearing the grounds of a historic park with a machete. Her hard work and dedication was recognized by Golden Key, which awarded her its Mid-Atlantic Region Leadership Award.
As she prepares for her next step, McDonald’s late grandparents indeed have even more to be proud of. She’s headed to Harvard on a Prize Fellowship to pursue her Ph.D. in immunology and infectious diseases.
“During my time at UMBC I’ve been able to turn my dreams into plans,” McDonald says. “I feel fortunate to have made my grandparents’ hard work pay off. They’re looking down right now and glowing.”