Jasmin Ashby

Jasmin Ashby

This was the year to be a college student, and for Chancellor’s Scholar Jasmin Ashby, it was the year that solidified her choice of a major. Although she was ready to major in Political Science, reflecting on issues she faced in her own life helped realize her purpose: “I want to advocate for people with mental illness.

“I never understood how to integrate mental health advocacy with poly sci,” says Jasmin, “but I’ve realized that there’re a lot of people who don’t have access to affordable healthcare. Without it, thousands of people afflicted by mental illness don’t have access to proper treatment. Who will be there to protect them?”

Jasmin answers her own question: “People who advocate for policy.” She's already started by speaking up for herself, and by sharing her story.

Through her high school years Jasmin struggled with mental illness and was hospitalized multiple times. “It was really, really hard. I was scared to tell people.” Fortunately for Jasmin, “I had a lot of support from my family and a fantastic school counselor, Socorro Ruiz, who was with me for three years. And now I'm here.”

Socorro had given Jasmin the important gift of understanding that she had to speak out for herself. “When you’re sick, people often believe that they have to do everything for you. You come to believe you can't do anything yourself, you develop dependencies on the people around you. My counselor taught me that a lot of getting better is that you have to self-advocate,” she says.

“It's made me more empathetic.”

And it made her strong enough to stay in Southern California and tackle the rigors of UC San Diego when her dad, a Marine, received orders that took her parents and brother to Missouri. Jasmin had lived in places as far flung as Virginia and Okinawa, but Oceanside is where she’d put down healthy roots. Her Chancellor's Associates Scholarship helped make it possible to stay here and grow.

Now she's weighing her options. In addition to setting goals of advocacy work in the mental health field, she's considering a study abroad adventure in Japan. And she's looking into starting up a student chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, to get a healthy conversation going on campus.

Chancellor's Associates Scholars