During Jasmine LaCoursiere's freshman year of college, she was put to the test. She attended Cornell University where, on the first day of orientation each year, the Ivy League's president addresses the 3,000 new students who graduated top in their class throughout the country saying most will not achieve the same GPA they had in high school. Jasmine struggled academically that first year, yet she credits the well-rounded experience she had at American Heritage for enabling her to overcome the obstacles of a very challenging academic environment.
"Because of my experiences at Heritage as student, athlete, and community leader, I knew how to stay dedicated during difficult times, and I knew how to engage faculty for academic help," says Jasmine.
She went from having an almost failing GPA after the fall semester freshman year to finishing with a 4.02 GPA at the end of her senior year at Cornell.
At Heritage, Jasmine was a member of National Honor Society, Key Club, Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica, and team captain of the Swimming and Diving team. She also received two Gold Key Awards from Scholastic Art & Writing for her work in ceramics.
"Ms. Warren engaged me in sculpture and encouraged me to push the boundaries in art," Jasmine said of one of the AHS teachers who had a lasting impact on her. "Mr. Rosen inspired me to give back to the community and instilled the importance of service and leadership; Coach LaCoursiere taught me invaluable lessons about commitment and determination. All my teachers and coaches helped define my character and inspire my future."
Senior year, Jasmine founded a nonprofit she named Wishing Cup Inc. that raised funds by selling handmade ceramic cups to aid children affected by the 2009 earthquake in Haiti. She also volunteered at Florida Horses for the Handicapped providing hippotherapy to children with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities.
Her work throughout high school led to her interdisciplinary major at Cornell in Psychology, Communications, and Human Development, as well as her going on to earn an advanced Master's degree in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas.
Today, Jasmine works at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City as a Multisite Research Coordinator for the Nurture Science Program. She is responsible for Texas dissemination research of family based interventions in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and manages research in four hospitals across Texas.
"My work pulls from skills I began to develop at Heritage, and I am grateful for my high school experience."
Jasmine's advice to all current AHSers is to be well rounded. She says, "Great academics are no longer sufficient for earning admission to top universities. Leadership, innovation, and other strong character traits are essential for success in college and in the work place."
Good tips from one of our many successful alumni who is making a big difference in our world.