July 28, 2023

Jasmine Torres

Student Affairs Administration, MA ’23

After attending Lewis & Clark for her undergraduate education, Jasmine Torres returned to pursue a career in Student Affairs Administration, hoping to one day mentor students from underrepresented communities.

Jasmine Torres, MA '23 Jasmine Torres, MA ’23After attending Lewis & Clark for her undergraduate education, Jasmine Torres returned to pursue a career in Student Affairs Administration, hoping to one day mentor students from underrepresented communities.

Often, inspiration is a seed planted by dedicated mentors in a student’s life. Jasmine Torres, Student Affairs Administration 2023, knows that she wouldn’t be where she is today without the advocacy and support she experienced throughout her education, and hopes to one day pay it forward through a career in multicultural affairs.

“As a high school student, I was part of the One Voice Scholars Program in my hometown of Los Angeles, so I had a lot of mentors who supported me and helped me prepare for college. I also had several mentors during my time as an undergrad who contributed to an overall great college experience.”

My mentors really influenced my decision to work with students who come from underrepresented communities like myself. My goal is to be able to help students in the same way that I was helped.

Torres’s story is unique in that she chose to attend Lewis & Clark for both her undergraduate and graduate experience.

“I was heavily involved with the Office of Inclusion & Multicultural Engagement, as well as a peer mentor for their Great Expectations Program and really enjoyed helping students navigate their first year of college.”

While continuing one’s education at their alma mater may seem like an easy choice, Torres’s decision-making process was anything but. She was considered, calculated, and intentional.

I chose Lewis & Clark because I really loved their dedication to equity and social justice. When deciding on what grad schools to apply to, I purposefully chose programs that shared my values. I met with the program director before I committed to L&C and she was very influential in highlighting the unique education and experience I would get in the Student Affairs Administration program, and she was absolutely right.

Torres quickly learned that this institutional dedication to social justice was more than a focus or concentration, it was a way of life. Everything was “tailored to have a social justice focus. We approached every situation with an equity lens. During every conversation, essay, and reading, my professors challenged me to think about non-dominant groups and practices that have been historically excluded from higher education.”

This framework wasn’t limited to the classroom. The Student Affairs Administration program focuses on a small cohort and a one-on-one mentorship model allowing professor and colleague alike to be as dedicated to serving their cohort as they were the outside community.

“You really get to develop meaningful connections, and know each other as people and professionals. We developed a community of trust where we could make mistakes and ask questions in a safe space.”

Trust also often stems from a leader willing to demonstrate and live the ethos of their community. Torres found that her faculty, who mirrored her experience as a “first-gen Latina”, were also practitioners of equity and advocacy in their own lives and work.

Inside and outside the classroom, it is obvious that the professors are dedicated to creating a space for all students.

Students at Lewis and Clark also have the opportunity to engage in a practicum where they can apply their knowledge and skills towards their chosen field. Ultimately, it was this experience that helped shape Torres’s future goals and career. She noted that her work within the Office of Inclusion & Multicultural Engagement was “exciting, challenging, and meaningful”, reaffirming her “desire to someday be the director of a multicultural center” with a focus on marginalized voices and communities.

As she looks toward her future, Torres knows she now has the skills to step out into the world as a mentor, and “effectively support underrepresented students. Doing that requires a huge dedication to social justice, equity, and diversity.”