How long have you been at SPU?
Six years (including time as a student).
Tell us about a memorable “good day at work”?
The most recent memorable good day at work was the day that Queen Beyoncé announced to the world that she was having twins! (Congrats, Bey!)
That day I had a group visit from one of my favorite schools in Tacoma. I started the admissions presentation playing “Love on Top” by Beyoncé with the students and they were SO into it. I had one male student just completely kill it on a high note, the high school counselor was singing along, and the students were definitely channeling their inner Beyoncé, dancing along in Demaray 150.
I then transitioned into our presentation saying that like Beyoncé, SPU was recognized as being a top university by US News & World Report by being the only private university in the Pacific Northwest to receive a national ranking. I was very proud of that moment. However, that day was also great because I was able to take time to really mentor, advise, and equip these students in entering higher education. I also had them practice self-affirmations and affirming each other. It was such a great day!
How does your faith impact your work?
In my work with students of color and LGBTQ students, I see that they are being told lies every day that they are not enough. They sometimes hear these messages from their peers, family, mentors, and everyday through the structures and systems in our country that seek to stomp out rather than uplift their life.
I look at the work that I do as restoring their view of the Imago Dei in themselves — to remind me that they have intrinsic value, ordained by God and are capable of excelling in all that they want to achieve. When a LGBTQ or student of color believes in themselves, they are pressing into God’s declaration that they are good and that their goodness is intrinsically bound to God’s, they are defying the messages of this world, and they are living into the Kingdom of God’s intended reality for this world. This is my calling and this where I see my work.
Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific?
Now working in admissions, I am amused by how my story, which I thought was so unique and monumental, actually fits into the admissions cycle and funnel.
I heard about SPU from a friend, came and visited, and just fell in love with campus! Everything about the visit was perfect — it was a sunny day; I fell in love with the mission statement; there was bacon in Gwinn; I saw other black women walking around campus and they told me where I could get my hair done in the area (very important for a black woman); and I just knew that this was the place that God was calling me to be.
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
My favorite thing to do is definitely hosting people! I always feel so full when my house is filled with friends, food, and laughter.
If you ever come over to my house, you will be fed (probably with brie and jam), tucked in a blanket, and we will talk and laugh about life! And of course, we will light some candles and listen to the Queen Beyoncé.
What’s something that few people know about you?
A fun fact about me is that I used to do background acting when I was younger, so you could see me in past shows like That ’70s Show, CSI, The Jersey, and in commercials for Burger King, McDonald's, and Cap'n Crunch!
What’s your favorite part about your job?
Definitely the students! I absolutely love my students! They are incredible, resilient, and such an inspiration. I have the best conversations with students — conversations filled with heartache, horrible puns, Black Girl Mantras, and empowerment.
As much as I like to think I am encouraging and mentoring students, they definitely do the same for me! There have been times when students will give me a word, pray for me, and encourage ME! I feel so privileged to know so many incredible students and to be in this season of their lives.
What’s the most important thing that you’d want people to know about you?
I fiercely love the people in my life. I fiercely fight for my students, for those marginalized, and for the systems and structures of this world to better reflect the radical and equitable Kingdom of God. I will fiercely laugh way too long at whatever meme I see on the internet. And I will fiercely slay that Flower Crown filter on Snapchat as I channel my inner Sasha Fierce.
Please join Staff Council in congratulating Jasmine Hairston as the March Staff of the Month!