Younger sister motivates senior leave a lasting impact

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Jazmin Zeledon, senior in psychology and biology, said she always knew what she wanted to do when she came to K-State, and what she wanted to do after she walked across the stage in Bramlage Coliseum. Now that time is approaching quickly.

“My passion for science started since I was in elementary school,” Zeledon said. “My ideas were always used for class projects. I would always place in my school science project.”

Zeledon transferred from community college to K-State in a bridging program for minority students. She was introduced to the field of research within months of joining the Wildcat family.

“For two years, I have worked with a protein to inhibit melanoma tumor growth in mice,” Zeledon said. “For the past year, I’ve been working in a ecological genomics program where I’ve been studying the infection of rhabdovirus on an insect that infects the virus to corn.”

As she prepares to graduate, she said she wants to continue to pursue research, and additionally, pursue medicine.

Though Zeledon was accepted into a few medical schools, she said she is most passionate about the Trinity School of Medicine in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She said she applied to quite a few medical schools outside of the U.S., as well as some within, because she wanted to experience a new environment.

“I have never been out of the country,” Zeledon said. “So, studying outside of the states would be awesome.”

But, as she prepares to graduate, Zeledon is dealing with the stress that comes along with the question facing most graduating seniors, “What happens next?” Though she is supposed to start her program in Puerto Rico in the fall, she said she is dabbling with the idea of taking a year off to work before entering the program.

Zeledon said the process of closing the K-State chapter has been stressful, especially when it comes to getting her personal statements completed, updating and maintaining her curriculum vitae, collecting letters of recommendation and attending interviews.

Throughout her time here, Zeledon has been involved in multiple campus organizations and research projects. These include Psi Chi international honor society in psychology, the Developing Scholars Program, the URM scholar program, Bridges scholar program and as the president, among other positions, of Lambda Theta Nu sorority.

“Being involved around campus has allowed me to make new friends and networks,” Zeledon said. “I have grown significantly since I have come to K-State. I am more independent, mature and know how to make wise choices. I am also a better researcher, leader and more confident in myself.”

Ultimately, Zeledon said she never lost sight of why she came to college. Her younger sister, who is in eighth grade, is one of the most important people in Zeledon’s life, as well as her motivation to continue to be successful in college and in life, she said.

“Everything I do is not only for myself, but also for her,” Zeledon said. “I want her to know that quitting is not an option, and that she can do whatever she aspires to be if she is willing to put in the work. She looks up to me a lot, and I don’t want to disappoint her.”

As Zeledon looks to the future, she said that though her time at K-State has been beneficial, she is ready to move on. She said she knows she wants to pursue medicine and research so she can leave this world having left an impact on others.

“I want to pursue medicine because I believe I have the talent and the skills to do wonders in medicine,” Zeledon said. “I not only want to do medicine to help people, but I want to make an impact on my community.”

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