FEARLESS FRIDAY: Jasmine Santana

In this week’s Fearless Friday piece, SURGE would like to spotlight Jasmine Santana ’16!

Jasmine is a currently a senior IDS major who focuses on socio-linguistics. In other words, she critically analyzes the use of language through various perspectives, such as from the point of view of Africana Studies or Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. A Latina woman from Washington Heights in NYC, Jasmine definitely felt a change in her surroundings once coming to Gettysburg. However, the presence of white-culture did not deter Jasmine from becoming the Fearless Leader we see today.

While Jasmine did not know at first that she would study socio-linguistics during her time at Gettysburg, she did know she was going to be as involved as she could. Jasmine works at the CUB desk, is the Multi-Cultural Coordinator for the Admissions office (along with our wonderful Ashley Fernandez!), is a tour guide, volunteers at El Centro through CPS, and much more.

Jasmine has done a spectacular job at using the knowledge she gains in the classroom and applying it to her everyday life. When Jasmine mentions the title of her major, Language and Culture, she usually gets quizzical looks from most people. However, after she explains the details of her work, many people are completely captivated by the depth and intricacies of the topic that Jasmine deals with. By analyzing how language is used not just in society as a whole, but in specific cultures and marginalized communities, Jasmine is able to study how certain peoples cope with the world around them through the use of language. Having a minor in Spanish in addition to her IDS major, Jasmine is able to broaden her spectrum of language beyond English and into the Spanish language as well.

Some may not understand the weight words can have, but Jasmine knows exponentially well that what someone says or writes can help or hurt. With the rapidly growing realm of social networking, Jasmine is constantly aiming to understand the use of language in terms of social justice issues in our modern day world. For example, with the #BlackLivesMatter movement that has swept over the public sphere of America, Jasmine can contextualize the use of hashtags and the particular language used (i.e. “black lives” vs. “all lives”) in order to form critical and analytical conclusions about how one word can shift the focus of the entire movement.

When asked what she plans to do after Gettysburg, like most seniors, she is a bit unsure. She does know that she’s going to graduate school to further her education in socio-linguistics. However, she does not know where she will end up after that; no matter what, though, Jasmine will be working to empower others with her background in linguistics. Whether she will work with housing policies for marginalized groups or will work for education reform, Jasmine plans to dedicate her life to helping oppressed groups find a voice.

Jasmine is the kind of passionate, humble, and levelheaded person that will make a change in the world once she graduates. Her unapologetic voice and resilience to oppression brought on by the structures of American society has formed Jasmine into the kind of Fearless Leader SURGE (and the rest of campus) admires. Thanks for your inspiration, Jasmine!