Like many Hispanic teens, good grades and Advanced Placement classes were not going to be enough to get Jasmine Rezai to college. The costs were just too high. She feared losing the opportunity to get a degree and the skills and connections that would help her reach her goals.
But the same determination and leadership that kept Jasmine in her school’s Honor Society led her to seek out enough scholarships to help pay her way through the University of California, Los Angeles, where she earned two degrees in History and Latin American Studies. One of those scholarships was from HSF. It allowed her to pay for her books, something her other tuition-specific scholarships wouldn’t let her do.
“Attending college provides opportunities which are not as available to those who aren’t able to go,” says Jasmine. “College allowed me to connect with other students, teachers and mentors who helped build my skills, open my eyes to new ideas and learn about different ways to develop my career path.”
Jasmine had been very interested in politics; however, when her planned White House internship evolved into an internship at a television station, the experience shifted her career track. She was amazed to learn how much Hispanics relied on television for information as well as entertainment. She fielded questions on everything from show details to stolen cars and immigration issues. Seeing this need to leverage media for community engagement, Jasmine was hooked.
Since then, she has made an amazing career in broadcast media and is now National Sales Manager for Telemundo, where she helps the world-class media company provide high-quality Spanish language programming to millions of U.S. Hispanics. Prior to her current post, she worked her way up the ranks at Univision¬—the leading Spanish-language media company in the United States—ultimately becoming Vice President of Affiliate Marketing for Univision Television Group.
Jasmine has never forgotten what being able to go to college has allowed her to achieve. Today, she shares HSF’s goal of passing on these opportunities to youth. She speaks at Career Days at local schools and gives college tours to junior high students to help them start thinking about their career path. And she’s never shy about reminding students to take advantage of all the resources that college offers: not just education but for networking, mentoring and launching a career. “Never let the cost deter you,” she reminds them. “Be proactive—opportunities won’t just land in your lap.”