Jasmine Hatcher ’06 Awarded Prestigious National Science Foundation Grant

Jasmine Grad

(Jasmine Hatcher, Class of 2006, with Dr. Sharon Lall-Ramnarine and members of her family at Queensborough’s 45th commencement ceremony.)

Jasmine Hatcher, who graduated with an Associate in Science degree from Queensborough Community College in 2006, has been selected to receive a 2013 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship.

Her selection was based on her “outstanding abilities and accomplishments, as well as her potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the United States science and engineering enterprise.”

She is one of only a few CUNY students to receive the coveted award.

“I am thrilled to receive this award and am immensely grateful to all of my mentors who supported me through my undergraduate education,” said Jasmine, who added “As an African American woman I feel expected to set the bar higher –to prove that women in general can be successful in the sciences.”

Her connection to Queensborough begins with her mother Gina Joseph, who is originally from Haiti. She graduated from Queensborough with an Associate in Science degree and then worked as a phlebotomist, setting an example to her children of the value of a quality education. Jasmine’s older sister, Lisa—who is a Registered Nurse at Winthrop Hospital—graduated from Queensborough in 2001 with an Associate in Science degree in Nursing. Lisa went on to obtain her baccalaureate degree at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and graduated magna cum laude in 2004.

Jasmine attended Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queens. She assumed that, like other members of her family, she would pursue a career in nursing. In her first semester at QCC, Jasmine was selected to participate in a nursing related research project. That project sparked her interest in research and changed the course of her academic future. For the next two years, Jasmine conducted research under the mentorship of Dr. Sharon Lall-Ramnarine, Chemistry Department.

“Research is essential at the community college level,” said Dr. Lall-Ramnarine. “I want to help students focus on long-term goals—to continue their education and broaden the scope of career possibilities. Our students work alongside graduate students and post-doctoral Associates from four-year schools and research institutions, as well as their peers, and that ignites the desire to further their studies and continue their research.”

Dr. Lall-Ramnarine pointed out that Jasmine was among the first group of students to work with her at Brookhaven National Laboratory. “At Brookhaven, our students are respected and it changes scientists’ view of what community college students can accomplish and the quality of the work they can produce.”

Jasmine developed into a budding scientist, demonstrating her scholarly talent both in and out of the lab. After she transferred to Queens College in 2006, she worked with additional mentors, including Dr. Robert Engel, who was once a mentor to Dr. Lall-Ramnarine and Dr. James Wishart who is Dr. Lall-Ramnarine’s collaborator in chemistry at Brookhaven.

“Jasmine enjoys connecting with people and took advantage of every opportunity to further her knowledge. Her skill set was established at Queensborough and refined at Queens College and Brookhaven prior to entering graduate school,” added Dr. Lall-Ramnarine.

In 2009, Jasmine returned to Brookhaven where she probed radiolitic damage of ionic liquids and worked with Dr. Wishart and nuclear engineers. Her goal was to bridge the two areas of research, finding a niche for her own study in Radiation Chemistry.

Jasmine was able to continue being involved in research for so many years because of funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) programs at QCC and the NSF Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LS-AMP), the Department of Energy educational programs as well as Dr. Wishart’s grants from the Department of Energy (DOE).

Jasmine is now pursuing her graduate degree in chemistry at Hunter College under the supervision of Lynn Francesconi. She had previously published five scholarly articles in SynthesisJournal of Physical Chemistry B; and the Journal of Electrochemical Society Transactions. The articles are a result of her work at Queensborough Community College, Queens College and Brookhaven National Laboratory.