Jasmine Brooks was not looking for UT Martin when she began her college search, but after she found it, she quickly realized it was the university for her.
A city girl at heart, Brooks grew up in Memphis. Her mother was a huge proponent of her daughter's education and moved her from one high school to the next until she felt that it was a good fit for her daughter’s education. As a result of moving between high schools, she graduated from Raleigh Egypt High School one year early.
When Brooks began her college search, she was set on finding a school in Atlanta, but her mother had another idea. She encouraged Brooks to attend a college preview day at UT Martin, and after touring the campus, she knew it was where she wanted to continue her education.
"I loved the open spaces and was instantly attracted here," Brooks said. "After my first year, I realized that I could focus so much here.”
Now, as a junior communications major, Brooks says she feels at home at UT Martin. She is the vice president of her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, vice president of the National Association of Black Journalists, a contributor to The Spirit, a volunteer with the Personal Safety Empowerment Program Project (PSEPP) and, perhaps her favorite role, news editor for UT Martin’s student newspaper, The Pacer.
"I love The Pacer. I love everyone who works there. It's so free. They give you a chance to be yourself," she said. "I really thought when I came here that I would learn strictly to write, but I got a little bit of experience in a little bit of everything. I'm learning to write, make websites, layout newspapers, talk on the radio … We have a great staff. We're like a little family."
She is grateful for and appreciative of the communications department. After her mother passed away in January of this year, the communications department did not hesitate to offer comfort and kindness. Brooks specifically noted communications instructor Tomi Parrish's compassion as she called to check on her during her difficult time.
"She's my mentor. She's a wonder woman," Brooks said.
Brooks said that her mother was her biggest influencer in her life and in her passion for writing.
"My mom would give me a journal every Christmas and would say, ‘Write how you feel.’ My mom helped me learn how to express myself," she said.
It is clear that Jasmine took her mother's encouragement to heart and continues to write. After she graduates, Brooks said she hopes to find a job writing for a newspaper entertainment section.