Meet Our Summer Associates: Jaszwan Veal

 In Scholar Profiles

Jaszwan Veal currently attends Howard University and is a member of the class of 2024. A 2020 graduate of El Cerrito High School, Jaszwan is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Biology at Howard.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Is there anything in particular that motivates you as you go through college and prepare yourself for a career?

A: Being from Richmond, I hold the motto “Pride and Purpose” to a different standard. As an RP Scholar at Howard University, I am devoted to demonstrating enterprising actions “In Truth and Service” as a basic principle of life. I choose to partake in initiatives that aim to create resolve for the needs of underserved groups and educate the individuals involved so that they can broaden their horizons. I am driven by my pride and purpose as a first-generation college student working to not only amplify my career opportunities but also to enhance the trajectory of students achieving scholastic honors stemming from my family’s humble backgrounds in Richmond and extending beyond as I pursue higher education and continue to network internationally through Howard University. I am actively helping to direct change for the students and citizens of Richmond while utilizing the skill sets that I have obtained from home and applying them within my college experiences to cultivate positively reinforcing spaces for others to build their career capabilities, financial literacy, and socioeconomic capacity.

Q: How has Richmond Promise played a role in your education?

A: Richmond Promise has been a vital resource during my matriculation throughout college. As an RP Scholar, I not only receive additional funds that aid in my pursuit of higher education, but I also have mentors and Near-Peer Ambassadors who are always readily available to assist me with any questions or concerns I may have when it comes to academics, career preparation, and the new challenges of adulthood (financial literacy, housing, etc). Without these resources, my transition from high school to college would have been much more difficult and I may not have had the stable foundation that I needed to help get me started.

Q: Why did you choose to be a Richmond Promise Summer Associate and what are you hoping to take from the experience?

A: I chose to be a Richmond Promise Summer Associate because I believe in the philosophy “Each one, Teach one.” For all of the opportunities and gifts we receive, we should do the same for others, and when everyone abides by this value you improve the community together. Being involved with the community, inside school and out, is an important value to me because your community is the foundation that shapes you into the person you grow up to be. What I hope to take from this experience is simply a sense of personal satisfaction if I have successfully assisted the youth of our community and made a positive impact on their lives as they venture out to begin their career pathways.

Q: What do you want to contribute to Richmond and/or the world?

A: Mental health is a relatively new concept being regularly addressed in today’s socioeconomic fields, but a common misconception is that mental health issues only arise in adulthood and racial demographics for medical aid when it comes to mental health rests on a discriminatory slope. I want to work with children in both a clinical and research setting which allows me to aid our youth and pinpoint issues before they become problematic—especially within low-income communities—and expand the common knowledge of mental wellness in a constantly changing and progressive society. We as the youth need to educate ourselves, infiltrate the system, and push society as a whole to progress, but it starts within, at the hearts of our communities.

Q: Can you tell us about your current college experience?

A: My college experience has been filled with many trials and tribulations, but many more triumphs over adversity than all else. My freshman year was just at the start of the pandemic and it was entirely virtual as we were all confined to the restrictions of quarantine. At the start of my sophomore year I lost a relative who was very important and dear to me, and then had to make the official transition to college by moving alone to Washington, D.C. from Richmond. At this particular time, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to maintain my space at Howard University but I persisted. After utilizing the tools that Richmond Promise and my university provided me with my mentality entirely changed. I was more driven than ever to make the most of what time I had at Howard. I raised my grades, I took on higher level courses, and I was able to secure a job with the university as a teacher for the Early Learning Program. I also became a peer advisor, joined new clubs and met so many wonderful people, and became a student ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences. This summer, I have come full circle fulfilling a Richmond Promise Summer Associate position and lending a helping hand to younger students just as what was done for me not long ago. As I enter my senior year I look back on everything that I have endured over the past three years and I am grateful for the experiences that my beloved HBCU has given me. From picnics on the yard, to late night brunch and fashion shows on campus, or even the infamous Howard Homecoming, I know that I made the right decision for myself and when I graduate next spring I will be ready to take on the world. #HU24

Q: What are you looking forward to after receiving your bachelor’s/transferring?

A: What I am looking forward to after receiving my B.S. is beginning my studies for the MCAT over the duration of a gap year in preparation for medical school. During this year, I hope to take on an employment position with the American Psychological Association or the National Institutes of Health so that I am exposed to more field work experience and research pertaining to developmental psychology while also being able to devote a majority of my time to my studies.

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