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Biomedical sciences major Jasmine D. Collins knew she wanted to work in the medical field after working as a patient care technician at Baptist Health hospital in Richmond. Now with a pre-physician assistant concentration, she wants to someday be a physician’s assistant.

But it wasn’t just the program that brought the Chicago native to EKU. “The quality of education you receive is phenomenal and the tuition is manageable. The campus and the people make you feel like you’re at home," she said.

Collins said it was the culturally diverse atmosphere of the university that helped her feel at home.  People from different ethnic groups and backgrounds are represented throughout campus. “The various activities and presentations allow each culture to be on display in a fun and creative way,” she said.

That’s music to the ears of Dr. Melissa Dieckmann, chair of the Department of Geosciences, who is spearheading an initiative to promote awareness of and celebrate diversity in STEM majors. “We want the university community to know the EKU College of Science is a welcoming place for students and faculty of all backgrounds, and that diversity is important to us and to our disciplines,” said Dr. Dieckmann.

For two years “I got an opportunity to shadow people working in different areas in the medical field and fell in love with the physician assistant profession and the vast skills they possess," said Collins.

She was not disappointed with her choice. In addition to the program, she enjoys being in a small town near a large city. "You get all of the perks of the city without having to deal with all the traffic and the elements that come with the big city lifestyle." The size of EKU also feels right. "The campus is large enough to offer multiple majors," she explained, "yet small enough for you to not feel like a number.”

Collins is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and also enjoys volunteer work. She has assisted several times with Special Olympics organization and volunteers with the Amateur Athletic Union boys basketball team as an assistant coach. She has played basketball all her life and still enjoys playing pickup games with friends and family.

“Jasmine displays a knack for hard work and curiosity throughout the class. One of her major strengths is her ability to conceptualize a problem and her ability to thoroughly research issues,” said Dr. Margaret Ndinguri, associate professor of chemistry.

She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a physical education (teaching) major and biology minor from Kentucky State University in 2016. “While obtaining my first bachelor’s degree, I was a student athlete on the women’s basketball team. Among the lessons I learned as a student athlete were time management, professionalism, persistence and the understanding that you can’t always control the situation but you can control your reaction,” Collins said.

She credits her parents for their support and for instilling positive values in her, “I was born to two hard working parents who taught me a lot of the values I carry with me today.” After graduation from EKU, she plans to pursue a physician’s assistant career.