Dear Tulane Community:
Spending time with our amazing students is one of the highlights of my job as president. Our students inspire me every day, and they will write the future of this university. I wish each of you could get to know some of these incredible young people, so I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to one extraordinary example: Tulane junior Jasmine Xie Kiley.
I first met Jasmine in her sophomore year when she was one of a cohort of high-achieving students I mentored through the College Scholars Program. It’s hard to summarize Jasmine in just a few words: an accomplished violinist, a die-hard Buffalo Bills and Green Wave football fan, and a pre-med biochemistry major minoring in public health who loves listening to Fleetwood Mac. I was asked to teach our College Scholars about leadership, but I learned just as much talking to students like Jasmine, who spoke passionately about the connections between the arts and the sciences: a dance between a molecule and its electrons; a narrative arc about the life of a cell.
Since I met Jasmine last year, she has gone on to win a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship and conduct summer research at the National University of Singapore through the Amgen Scholars Program, where she studied a novel technology for cancer treatment delivery. The intellectual creativity that spurred these accomplishments may eventually help her contribute not just to a cancer treatment, but to a cure. Jasmine exemplifies the Tulane student of today: inquisitive, driven, and determined to make a difference in her community and world through collaboration and innovation across fields of knowledge.
Tulane students know that bringing the best minds together from a wide range of fields is the best path to solving complex problems and seizing extraordinary opportunities. They prove this every day. A few standout examples include a group of engineering students designing a lunar communication, energy and storage cube, which was a finalist in NASA’s annual RASC-AL competition; a student team – that included Jasmine – winning the Novel Tech Challenge for their home endometriosis test; and a team of Earth and Environmental Sciences students being named semifinalists in the U.S. Department of Energy’s EnergyTech University Prize competition.
As we cope with the unprecedented challenges we face at Tulane and beyond, it can sometimes be difficult to ponder the future. But I look forward with confidence when I think of our high-achieving, innovative and entrepreneurial-minded students. In literally every field of human knowledge, Tulane students are lighting the way toward a better tomorrow. Their ambition and drive to make a difference mirror Tulane’s own momentum as we make historic strides toward modernizing our campuses, growing our research enterprise, diversifying New Orleans’ economy and transforming the landscape of health care in our region.
Of course, the Tulane student experience isn’t only about scholarship, service and addressing worldwide problems. Throughout their Tulane story, students embrace and celebrate the one-of-a-kind joy that is New Orleans and experience a cultural immersion like none other – from Carnival to Crawfest. New Orleans embraces them right back, too, especially this year, when the epicenter for much Crescent City celebration was the student section of Yulman Stadium. When Jasmine and her fellow students stormed the field after the Green Wave clinched the AAC championship, the helluva hullaballoo echoed from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain. It was a moment I will never forget.
One of Fleetwood Mac’s enduring hits encourages the listener to go your own way. Students like Jasmine are doing just that: charting their own course, folding all of their passions into a unique path that will change the world for the better. By investing in this generation of students as they engage with their communities, think outside of the box, and apply their creativity to critical questions, we will pave the way for Tulane to make a positive impact for generations to come.