Year: 2nd year
Major: undeclared, premed. (applying to Global Development Studies this Spring).
Hometown: Atlanta, GA/ Johannesburg, South Africa
In this week’s edition of Campus Celebrity, get to know an extraordinary girl who would tell you she is ordinary if she got the chance. She’s from Johannesburg, South Africa and has made her way to UVA while touching the lives of many along the way, including my own. She continues to do so with many others through the various groups and organizations she is a part of. Get to know Shasheenie, what she is involved in, and how her life as a Jefferson Scholar might not be too different from your own in this week’s edition of Campus Celebrity. Enjoy!
What are you involved in around grounds?
In my free time, I am a member in a Sustained Dialogue group and serve on the student advisory board at the Center for Global Health. I am an Echols Mentor, and currently going through the transition as incoming Secretary on Echols Council. I am the co-chair of Mentorship with the Public Service Fellows organization, and a peer mentor (volunteer) at Venable Elementary School. I am in an acapella group on Grounds (Hoos In Treble).
Why are you involved with this/these organization(s)? How do they add to your experience at UVA?
I am very passionate about student and peer mentoring, so this takes up most of my time. For me, peer mentoring is a much-needed stepping-stone between faculty mentoring and parent mentoring. It is the most fulfilling feeling to watch my mentees grow and come into their own at UVA, and learn as much from them as I aim to teach.
I sing because I love it. That sounds silly, but it’s true! I started singing when I was five years old, and music has been with me throughout my transition from South Africa to America.
I am interested in public health research (HIV research specifically), and the Center for Global Health does a fantastic job of linking keen students with faculty members on Grounds to cultivate interest in sustainable research projects.
What is life like as a Jefferson Scholar?
Oooh…interesting question, and a tricky one to answer. It is quite a funny thing, isn’t it? The label of “life as a Jefferson Scholar” seems to cover all notions of trials and triumphs.
I think my life, as a Jefferson Scholar, is very similar to the life of any UVA undergrad. Let me explain: I wake up every morning. I shower, get dressed, eat an orange (sometimes an apple), and go to class. I interact with mentors and peers inside and outside the classroom in an effort to learn more about myself, and the world I live in. Do any of the things I described above seem out of the ordinary? Having an orange for breakfast may be strange, but other than that, my life is the same as the life of another undergrad. Yes, I have a significantly reduced financial burden due to a merit scholarship. Yes, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to study at UVA with some of the greatest minds of our generation. These are the only true differences I see. Being a student at UVA, I am one of 14,898 students who is dedicated to leadership, citizenship and service. I am part of a student community that is intellectually engaged, and compassionate.
I believe that my actions and learnings define my life. These actions and learnings are influenced by environment and experience. Being a Jefferson Scholar is something that has added to my experience at UVA, not something that has solely defined my life at UVA. Outside of the experiences I have been afforded through the Jefferson Foundation (such as upper-class mentors, alumni mentors in the medical field, supportive friends), I have defined my life at UVA with acapella, Madison House, and the Center for Global Health. My involvements at UVA, not my merit scholarship, are primary in defining my life at UVA.
The Jefferson Foundation is dedicated to promoting each class in every way possible, so as to make Scholars comfortable enough to explore the four corners of UVA. Being a Jefferson Scholar has taught me to be a citizen first, a friend second, and a leader third. Following this, I define myself first and foremost as a 2nd year in the College of Arts and Sciences, then as a peer mentor and singer/performer, then as a Jefferson Scholar.
What is your favorite thing to do during your free time?
I love hanging out in Newcomb Dining hall. When I have a free afternoon, you can find me in the back of Newcomb (near the soup station) listening to their on-point tunes. I may also be singing along.
What’s your dream job and why?
My dream job is…cardio-thoracic surgeon. I am fascinated by the human heart, and would love the opportunity to specialize in cardiology with the intention of going into surgery. With any luck, my life will be like Grey’s Anatomy…
Something people don’t know about you?
1. I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa and lived there for eighteen years.
2. I do not have a middle name
3. Sometimes when I feel antsy and stressed out, I move furniture around in my apartment.
Advice you would give your first year self?
If I could talk to 1st-year Sasheenie, I would say: Sasheenie, everyone is telling you to try new things and experience UVA in every way possible. You should do this, and spread your wings as far as they reach. As you do this, know that no decision or choice is binding. There is always room to change your mind, whether that be bowing out of something you love or discovering something you never knew. No decision is set in stone. This applies to majors, extra-curricular commitments, careers and courses.
Rapid Fire Questions
Favorite show? New Girl/Friends
Celebrity crush? Abraham Axler
Favorite color? Prism
Hidden talent? Reading between the lines
Favorite movie? Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant and Kate Winslet.
Block party or Foxfield? Chi Alpha Mug Party
Rock, paper or scissors? Rock
Favorite place on grounds? Lawn Room 18East
Starbucks or Shenandoah Joe’s? Archer’s.
Couldn’t get enough? More on Sasheenie.
Her three favorite quotes:
1. “Never fear, my dear, miracles dwell in the invisible” (Rumi)
2. He who hesitates is lost (Proverb)
3. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”