The Office of Campus Activities and the Women’s Student Assembly announced the Tenth Annual Remarkable Women Awards on March 7, 2012. These awards celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of women faculty, staff, and students, both undergraduate and graduate at USC.
Twelve women were recognized and honored for a variety of accomplishments, including achievements in the individual nominee’s field, significant contributions to USC, commitment to students and women’s issues, community involvement and professional and/or other types of recognition. Jasmine Thum, a BME student who will recieve both her Bachelors and Masters in Biomedical Engineering this May, was honored at the ceremony.
In the nomination letter for Jasmine Thum, Dr. Norberto Grzywacz, BME Department Chair, noted:
"I have known Jasmine for several years now, and in that time she has distinguished herself academically, as well as in leadership and community service capacities, serving not only as an ambassador for USC, but as a role model for undergraduate women at USC.
"Jasmine is a USC Trustee Scholar, Toyota Scholar, and Viterbi Merit Researcher, and has in her almost four years here maintained the highest level of scholarship as a W.V.T. Rusch Honors Engineering in Viterbi’s Biomedical Engineering Program(BME). Academically, she has not only maintained a high B.S. in Biomedical Engineering GPA and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering GPA (she will be completing both her M.S. and B.S. in BME/Neuroengineering this spring in a total of 4 years) in rigorous undergraduate and graduate coursework simultaneously (having never taken less than 18 units a semester), but she has additionally conducted meaningful research at USC since her freshman year. Her energy, enthusiasm, and passion for her research in signals and systems Analysis of Sleep Disorder Breathing and its effects on the autonomic nervous system have won her numerous fellowships to fund her research interests (two-time Rose Hills Fellow and three-time Women in Science and Engineering Fellow). Through the years, her research efforts have received several accolades, including: 1st Place at the Bright Ideas Viterbi Research Competition, Honorable Mention at the USC Undergraduate Research Symposium, and Honorable Mention at the Student Innovator Fair. She has also recently submitted a paper for publication to the National Sleep Journal. To date she has very successfully continued to pursue her academic interests in medicine and engineering, having been accepted to 4 medical schools (including Keck, UCSD, Vanderbilt, and University of Texas, Southwestern), a fully-paid MD/PhD program at the University of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Mellon, and is waiting to hear back from her interviews from eight other medical schools including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, and Duke.
"Aside from her scholarly pursuits, Jasmine’s energy and enthusiasm spills over to areas of leadership and community service. Realizing that there are many ways to make a difference, she has continued her service to the community for which she has received, among other awards, the Toyota and NSHSS scholarships; she continues to be front and center as an ambassador for USC, for women and for students. During her almost four years at USC she has actively represented women and students on the Boards for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering (ASBME), Associated Trustee & Presidential Scholars Society (ATPS), Dean’s Halls Building Government, and Trojan Health Connection (online pre-med publication). As the Academic Advisor for ASBME, in her two years as President of ASBME (for which she was unanimously elected and reelected) her efforts completely transformed the club, giving it new life and energy. She built the 30 person club to over 100 paid members, grew the board from 7 students to 20 students, and has three times successfully organized the Annual ASBME Corporate Dinner, each year bringing in over 15 corporations and 25+ corporate representatives from the biomedical industry for 100+ USC students to network with. Her fundraising efforts raise well over $4000 for the club each year, and it was her ability to share her enthusiasm with others that won ASBME The Tommy’s Student Organization of the Year Award and the Viterbi Alumni Association Award for Best Engineering Student Organization last year. I am confident that ASBME will again be main contenders this year, and in years to come, due to her excellent training of future board leaders for when she graduates this spring.
"Other leadership/mentoring initiative she has been involved in include the Emerging Leaders Program, the Neighborhood Academic Initiative, Joint Education Project for several semesters, tutoring high school students in math and language arts, a private tutor for USC students for five semesters, and the Multicultural Fair co-student organizer. Most outstanding, however, is likely her vision for change that she implemented for the Engineering Writing 340 course at USC. One component of the ENGR WRIT 340 course at USC is for students to apply their engineering skills to the surrounding Los Angeles community to help solve a problem at a local non-profit. After taking the course as a sophomore, Jasmine was not merely satisfied with simply writing a proposal to solve the community solution and then letting these beneficial community service project ideas get lost to the writing archives. So, she created HOPE (Helping Overcome Project Expenses) which is a student board that she recruited who selects one of these student-designed projects each semester and implements them in the Los Angeles community by securing grant funding, donations, and USC and local volunteers to carry through the effort. To date, HOPE has completed two separate community projects, is working on a third, secured grants for over $8000 in funding, secured furniture and technology donations from USC and LACMA, and involved over scores of volunteers since her founding of the organization. Her leadership efforts earned her both a spot on the Mortar Board for USC, and in Dr. Steven Sample’s MDA 365: The Art and Adventure of Leadership course this year.
"Expanding her horizons, taking her community service pursuits beyond the borders of USC and the local community, she has spent two winter breaks in Honduras with the Global Medical Brigades delivering medicine and medical care that she collected through donations in the U. S. On site, each time she and her peers treated 1,100+patients who had no access to medical services. In this and other capacities she continues to serve as an ambassador for USC to the outside community. In addition to her outreach work with employers and professionals, she was selected to serve as an official USC ambassador reaching out to prospective undergraduate students, namely as an organizer of the USC Explore hosting process for the engineering school as a Viterbi Student Ambassador (VSA) for two years. In this capacity as well, we can only imagine how in her unassuming manner she is providing an invaluable service to USC.
"Despite her humility, not only do her professors and administrators she works with recognize her amazing potential and contributions to the USC community, but so do her peers. She was nominated by her peers and selected across the entire University for the Tommy’s Student Programming Award for her contributions on the boards of SWE, ASBME, ATPS, and other campus efforts. She has also been recognized by her peers as a Viterbi Woman of the Week for her leadership in Viterbi, mentoring to underclassmen, efforts in host recruitment, and as the class moderator for the Honors Engineering Colloquium for which she recruited numerous engaging speakers including President Nikias, and a Vice President of Disney. Finally, she has made a conscious effort to reach out to younger pre-medical and engineering females as their mentor in AED (the pre-med honor society), TBP (the engineering honor society), and ASBME to help guide them through academics, leadership involvement, and life at USC. Students who are in and outside her department look to her as a leader and role model, often citing her accomplishments as the goals they would like to try to achieve by the time they graduate from USC.
Dr. Norberto Grzywacz, Professor, Departments of Biomedical and Electrical Engineering, and at the Neuroscience Graduate Program
Dwight C. and Hildagarde E. Baum Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering
University of Southern California"