From the moment she started looking at colleges, Jasmyn Smith has had her eyes set on dental school.
It was the Dental College of Georgia that initially drew the Lilburn, Georgia, native to Augusta University, but it was the Hull College of Business and the numerous student organizations that she is a part of that have provided her with the opportunity to find her voice.
Smith is graduating from Hull College of Business with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, which might not sound like a traditional path into a health care field to some, but she saw a unique opportunity that will allow her to give back once she achieves her goal of becoming a dentist.
“I plan to utilize the knowledge gained from my BBA to open a dental practice. My dream is to create a non-profit clinic to treat underserved and homeless populations,” she said. “Volunteering at Golden Harvest Food Bank’s Master’s Table Soup Kitchen inspired my vision, and I hope to partner with them in the future to accomplish this.”
Smith said one of the greatest benefits of Hull College was the amount of support it receives from the community. She said the experiences she had from Augusta commissioners, local entrepreneurs and other business leaders visiting her classes to share their experiences and insight informed her and her classmates of job and networking opportunities.
She is also grateful to the alumni who have invested in Hull by providing generous funding for student scholarships and activities.
“I’m extremely grateful for being able to come here for undergrad,” Smith said. “I’ve had amazing professors who not only challenged me academically, but who wanted me to succeed personally too. Although I am nervous for this next phase of my life, I don’t think I would have been as prepared anywhere else.”
When she arrived at AU, she became involved with Women’s Leadership Academy, which is where she learned to speak up and communicate effectively. She said the opportunities she experienced gave her the confidence to pursue her degree and get her on the path to dentistry.
During her undergraduate studies, Smith has served as the president of AU’s Pre-Dental Club, a student ambassador in the Student Alumni Ambassadors (formerly Lumin Society), an intern at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Dentistry and an intern at Paine College. Smith has been awarded nine AU scholarships, including the Bill Monge, William T. Maxwell and the Automatic Data Processing Scholarships.
“This is my third year serving as a peer mentor for the Women’s Leadership Academy. It’s been incredibly fulfilling to give back to a program that taught me so much,” said Smith, who credits Melissa Furman, DBA, with her getting involved with the academy.
As Smith began navigating the curriculum within Hull, she formed a strong bond with lecturer Stacy Roberts, DBA, who over time became her mentor. It was Roberts who helped Smith “unleash my power from within,” allowing her to realize that she is more influential than she gave herself credit for.
Roberts said what impressed her most about Smith when they first met was how she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and her willingness to stand up for what she believes in, as well as being an excellent student.
“Jasmyn is one of the most powerful young women I have ever met. I love her boldness, clarity of thought, and tenacity for life,” Roberts said. “She goes against the norm and that has led to her success. She also has a big heart and integrity, which are beautiful characteristics for anyone to have. I will truly miss her when she graduates.”
The interaction with Roberts also gave Smith something she hadn’t experienced much: a female authority figure of color in a leadership role. Roberts told her no one but herself dictates what she will become, and one must express their opinion while standing up for oneself. The confidence Smith gained from those conversations helped her discover a voice she never knew she had.
“I’ve taken a total of five classes from Dr. Roberts; with each one, I’ve learned something new. She brings practical and real-life applications into the classroom, and she isn’t just reading from a textbook,” Smith said. “She shows us working examples through games and with how interactive her classes are. It doesn’t feel like you’re sitting in a traditional classroom.”
Roberts said Smith has “some of the best work ethic and follow-through I have ever witnessed with my students.” She noted her professionalism in and out of the classroom and a character that’s willing to learn, but also be a team-player while guiding others. Roberts also noted that when she took on a leadership role with the Women’s Leadership Academy, she went to Smith with questions that she had answers for, which she gave “great feedback in a respectful manner.”
“Jasmyn is great about asking me questions and for guidance on things that are important to her. She has great judgement but will always bounce things off me if she needs to.”
Roberts’ advice to Smith as she moves forward with her education was simple: “Never lose your boldness, stay focused and know I am always here for you.”
With her eyes set on becoming a dentist, Smith has completed her prerequisites. She scored in the 96th percentile on the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) and will find out the day after graduation whether she has been accepted into dental school.
Smith knows entering a field where there aren’t many people that look like her will be intimidating at first, but she’s looking forward to representing and being a face for her community.
“I’m continually fascinated by how it contributes to one’s overall health and quality of life,” Smith said. “It’s something very crucial that people need to regularly receive care for. The smile that patients receive as a result of their dental experiences is a reward no other profession is able to offer.”