HBCU Alumni Spotlight: Jazminique Holley
When Jazminique Holley was at Howard University, she was a part of two organization that allowed her to help educate and uplift African-American women; the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and Jewels Inc. The women in NCNW inspired her to reach her full potential as a woman of African descent. Jewels incorporated was a mentoring program in which she was able to mentor young ladies that were students in the District of Columbia Public School District. Holley was able to show those girls that she too, had come from a single-parent home, and she made it. Holley wanted to inspire them just as much as her single mother had encouraged her to dream big.
After returning to St. Louis from Howard University (with a 3.5 GPA), Holley lost sight of that passion. Holley was distracted, and before she knew it, she became that “Girl” that she had tried to prevent all of those young ladies that she had mentored from becoming. She enrolled at Harris-Stowe State University that fall as a bitter, broken, despondent former scholar who had given up on her education but most important herself and was pregnant on academic probation at the end of that semester.
When Holley professors in the College of Education and administrators at Harris-Stowe were informed of her academic standing and pregnancy, they immediately hit the ground running. The entire College of Education worked together in making sure that she had tutoring, and all of her assignments were completed. In addition to that, they spoke life to her and even brought her infant necessities and even re-motivated, pushed and encouraged her to become a campus leader.
In Holley’s opinion, Harris-Stowe is the nation’s best kept secret. What makes the institution so unique is that it is refer to as the “Transformational Institution.” HSSU takes rocks out of the dirt, brushes them off, polishes them and turn them into JEWELS. HSSU accepts students that no other college or university accepts and gives them a second chance at life. Holley was once skeptic as it relates to her university before she enrolled, and as of today, she is a BELIEVER and an ADVOCATE. Harris-Stowe is not just the place where Holley earned her bachelor’s degree, HSSU is HOME and the staff and students there have become family. Her campus activities/achievements have included: Vice Presidents list scholar, President of the campus’ largest organization Sigma Alpha Pi National Honor Society of Leadership and Success, President of NAACP-HSSU Chapter, HSSU strategic planning committee, HSSU Presidential Transitional team, and a student ambassador. As a result of Holley’s exceptional leadership as the president of the HSSU-NAACP Chapter, she was elected president of the NAACP for the state of Missouri’s youth and college division, received numerous recognition across the country (was recently honored and recognized for black history month for her advocacy work and named as a emerging leader of the NAACP.)
Holley graduated from Harris-Stowe State University on May 16, 2015, with her bachelor’s of educational science studies where she was able to share her testimony with nearly one thousand people. Holley currently attends the University of Missouri-St. Louis where she is working towards obtaining her Master’s of Education in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Character and Citizenship. Upon graduation, she was hired at Harris-Stowe State University as the Educational Advisor for the Educational Talent Search Program. The position calls for Holley to serve disadvantaged students at targeted schools by assisting them in college preparation as well as assisting them in achieving their academic goals. This position was confirmation that education is not only her calling but her ministry. Holley has nurtured and supported her students as if they were her own and have built relationships with staff and students that will last a lifetime. What Holley has enjoyed most about her position is being referred to as a hero and role model which is ironic because she is just doing exactly what was done for her. Holley’s ultimate goal in life is to become a superintendent of a public school district that serves students who are disadvantaged as it relates to socioeconomic status. It is also her dream to open eventually her own trauma-informed school that primarily focuses on character and good citizenship.
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