By Maha Laiq
Sitting on the floor, Jasmine Agyepong stacks book after book in a cardboard box. She is sending four hundred books to an elementary school in Ghana, located near the village where her father used to live. After weeks of preparation, Agyepong hopes that everything goes well.
During her sophomore year, Agyepong started ‘Mission STEM,’ a non-profit devoted to providing resources related to science, technology, and engineering to children in developing countries.
“I got the idea for Mission STEM because my dad always sends items like books and computers to Ghana. He grew up in the Kwahu Mountains, which is a village in the eastern region of Ghana,” Agyepong said. “That’s why he would always give back to his community.”
Mission STEM held a book drive in early January , collecting over two hundred books. Agyepong says that the planning behind this achievement did not come easy.
“It took a lot of work and it was the first time we had ever done something that big,” Agyepong said. “I feel like I could have done more, but we hope to have it annually to help more people.”
Since a young age, Agyepong has immersed herself in science. Throughout high school she has been involved in Science National Honor Society and Our Minds Matter. She has accomplished many achievements in the field of science, including winning first place in Biochemistry at the Prince William Manassas Science Fair and second place at the State Science Fair.
“Science has always been that one subject where I’ve never been mad at,” Agyepong said. “I always liked human anatomy and biology.”
After high school, Jasmine hopes to pursue her studies in becoming a plastic surgeon.
“I want to go more into the cosmetic side. I’ve always been fascinated by the aesthetics and beauty of things,” Agyepong said. “Also, I wanted to help people with birth defects that normally cannot get it fixed due to the cost and hope to participate in something like Doctors without Borders.”
In the future, Agyepong wants to delve deeper in the intersection of languages and health studies.
“I did a scholarship to learn a language. It was game-changing. I know so much more Korean now,” Agyepong said. “Through learning languages, I can talk to a lot more patients and understand them in case of a language barrier.”
Agyepong is already using this skill in her day-to-day life.
“I work at Chick-fil-A, so a woman came through the drive-thru. She talked to me in Spanish and when I spoke it back to her, that moment of connection was amazing. It was nice to connect with a person through a language. I love that feeling. That’s how my love for language intersects with medicine.”
Thu Le, who has been friends with Agyepong since freshman year, says “Jasmine is one of the most hardworking and amazing friends ever. She always stands for what is right. She has always supported me in every ambitious endeavor I’ve had.”
Hosna Mohibi, who is Agyepong’s friend and a staff member of Mission STEM, recognizes the core qualities that define Agyepong.
“Her resilience is inspiring for every young immigrant girl,” Mohibi said. “Jasmine isn’t afraid to be the first person to step in. She is a role model for young girls.”
10 Quick Qs with Jasmine Agyepong
Most embarrassing moment in high school?
A freshman spilled water on my pants and it looked like I peed. I was not having it that day.
Favorite class ever taken in high school?
Pre AP Chem or AP World
What was your favorite spirit day in high school?
I always like the color days.
What would be the soundtrack to your high school experience?
Your dog loves you – it’s mellow and comforting.
Do you have a secret talent?
What’s your favorite animal?
I like dogs, even though I don’t have dogs.
Least favorite animal?
Cats. When I see cats in real life, they don’t like me.
What’s your favorite song(s)?
Right now, it’s ‘Like I Need You’ (Keshi)
If you could give advice to a freshman, what would it be?
Talk to people and don’t be afraid to be yourself. If it’s academic, start planning your extracurriculars and classes to take.
Maha Laiq is a high school senior in Prince William County who writes about other high school seniors.