2021, BS Biology
Jasmine James’s decision to major in Biology is no coincidence. Her passion for science began when she was in a program that introduced young girls to the discipline. From that moment on, James had a clear idea of what she wanted to do with her life.
The junior has been immersed in research during her time at George Mason. Being a member of the Honors College has allowed her to explore her love for biology through multiple forms of inquiry.
“One of the primary reasons I came to Mason was because I was accepted into the Honors College,” said James, who enjoys that the Honors College values the importance of undergraduate research.
James’s connections with professors at Mason has allotted her numerous opportunities for research and academic growth. During the summer of 2019, James attended Boston University’s Summer Institute in Biostatistics per the recommendation of a professor. There, she put her Data Analysis minor to good use in learning more about biostatistics.
Here on Mason’s campus, James has conducted research through the competitive Biology Fall Research Semester on how retinol affects zebrafish embryo development. She presented this research, titled “Retinol and Retinol Palmitate’s Effect on the Development of Zebrafish Embryos,” at the 2019 Biology Fall Research Exhibition. James is currently continuing this project through a grant provided by the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research’s (OSCAR) Undergraduate Research Scholars Program.
Beyond biology, James has given back to the Mason community by serving as a Peer Mentor for the Honors College and working with the Early Identification Program (EIP) as an Academic Success Coach. As a Peer Mentor, James organized a trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the spring of 2019. In the EIP, she tutors and mentors students from 8th to 12th grade who will one day become first-generation college students.
James is also a member of Mason’s club softball team and a sister of Mason’s Omicron Iota chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
“I will 100% remember a lot of good times with my friends, […] hanging out with my sorority sisters, and softball practices in the freezing cold,” reflected James.
James will also remember the academic opportunities provided to her by Mason and the Honors College, such as attending the regional division of a conference focused on research with zebrafish. The student researcher even has a less fond memory that she is sure she will always recall: “Even though I want to forget it, I’m sure I will never be able to forget [my] genetics lab with the fruit flies.”
James already has an idea for her plans post-college, hoping to attend graduate school and, then, pursue a PhD.
James offers an important piece of advice for lower-division students, advice that she still works on improving for herself: “Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors.” James is a testament to the opportunities provided by building on those connections with professors.
By Zaria Talley