In Their Own Words: BSU President Jasmin Hill ’23 on the Summer that Changed Everything

Before the MICAH Summer Fellowship, Jasmin Hill was planning to be a lawyer. Now, she’s headed to work for a tech company that teaches Black and brown students to program and code. “MICAH totally shifted my trajectory,” she says.

by Hayden Royster | March 13, 2023

In Their Own Words is a series in which we introduce you to the Gaels you need to meet—students, alums, faculty, and staff—and let them tell their stories, in their own words.

Meet Jasmin Hill: the current president of the Black Student Union, she’s also a volleyball coach and a 2021 MICAH Fellow with a job at a buzzy new tech company waiting for her after graduation.


Ethnic Studies / Women and Gender Studies 



Expected graduation date

Spring 2023


Eustis, Florida

Growing up

It’s funny, Eustis is about 40 minutes outside Orlando, but I’ve never actually been to Disney World. But you sometimes have to drive through the park to get somewhere else in Central Florida. It’s that big.

As a queer Black woman in Florida, there were a lot of challenges, honestly. I went to a predominantly white high school, with big pickup trucks waving Confederate flags out the back and things like that. Institutional racism was very present where I'm from. Florida is a great place to visit, I always say. And it really did help to shape the person I am. But I didn't love living there.

The journey to Saint Mary’s 

I was born in Sacramento and my parents are from California, so I always knew I was going to come back here for school. I just didn't know how or where. But I applied to Saint Mary’s, and of all the private institutions I applied to, they offered me the most generous scholarship. That clinched it for me.

Jasmin Hill '23
Jasmin Hill says the MICAH Fellowship was "life-changing." And, she says, "I made some of the closest friends I think I'll ever have." / Photo by Francis Tatem

The fellowship that changed everything

Because of COVID, I had spent my sophomore year in Florida studying remotely, which was difficult, especially with the three-hour time difference. I really wanted to get back to California, but also knew I’d need to find a job and housing. 

A friend of mine had told me about the MICAH Summer Fellowship—which is a two-month-long program specifically for Saint Mary’s and University of San Diego students. You dive deep into service and racial justice; housing is provided, and there’s a food stipend, too.

I applied for summer 2021, not thinking I’d actually get it. But I did, and it was a life-changing experience. I spent the summer living on campus with five other Black and Latinx women. We did everything together: made meals, went to our internships or job sites, read through books, went to the gym or pool or just hung out. The whole point of the program was to bond, to challenge yourself while being emotionally vulnerable and open. I learned so much about myself and systems and how to live with different types of people. And I made some of the closest friends I think I'll ever have. 

The new direction

Before MICAH, I was planning to become a lawyer. But then, during the fellowship, I interned at a nonprofit called Girls, Inc. in Alameda County, and I just fell in love. I realized I wanted to do more service-oriented, social justice work. So MICAH totally shifted my trajectory. In fact, I recently secured a job as a PR consultant at a tech startup my friend founded. I’ll start after I graduate in May. The company’s called GH Tech, and it’s focused on lifting up marginalized communities through technology and teaching Black youth to code and program. 

It has all the components I want out of a job. So yeah, I'm really excited.

Her message to students of color: "You're only as alone as you make yourself feel... Find your community."

Her mission as BSU’s president

Our goal this year, coming out of COVID, is to really create a space for Black students where we can celebrate and share Black history and culture. We had a really big influx of Black first-year students this year, so we’re seeking out ways to support them and create events where they can have fun and connect. 

At the same time, BSU is not just for Black students. To be honest, we don't see a lot of students outside of that demographic, but the point of BSU is to share our history and our culture and traditions with the whole campus. My hope is that we would see more support and involvement from everyone at Saint Mary’s.

Her message to students of color, present and future

You're only as alone as you make yourself feel. It's really important, especially being on a small campus, to find your community. A lot of times, you'll find it in the Intercultural Center. I found it there, and in BSU, and through the MICAH Fellowship. So take advantage of opportunities. And just know, we’re here for you. 

(This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.)

To stay updated on all that Black Student Union has in store, follow them on Instagram: @smc.bsu

In 2023, the MICAH Fellowship is transitioning to a yearlong living, learning, and serving experience designed to foster growth in leadership, academics, and spirituality. Learn more. 

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Hayden Royster is the Staff Writer at the Office of Marketing and Communications. Write him.