Detail

SOLES Alumna Makes a Global Impact

Jasmine Williams with her students

Jasmine Williams, '09 is one of those students who inspires professors to continue to teach. She was a member of the first cohort of SOLES students pursuing a MEd in Literacy, Culture and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). When she decided to come to USD, she had recently moved back to the United States after teaching English in Chile. She loved her job and knew she needed to go back to school in order to expand her impact. She chose the graduate program at SOLES for three reasons: (1) she needed to learn about education and teaching, since that knowledge was lacking in her background, (2) she wanted to serve the ESL/EFL/TESOL population, and (3) she wanted to move to California.

Williams says her journey since graduation has been an amazing adventure. Having an MEd in TESOL, Culture and Literacy from SOLES has opened countless doors to travel extensively and consult in various places around the world — 43 countries and counting. She has worked short-term and long-term, in the United States, Haiti, Guatemala, India and China.

She is currently working at the Montessori School of Shanghai (MSS), which has been an eye-opening experience to the cultural norms and differences in educational thought and practice in mainland China. Prior to working there, Williams was a Montessori teacher and literacy specialist at a Spanish-English public charter school. She has also been an adjunct professor at a community college in Northern Virginia and worked at an adult education public charter school, teaching ESL at night. Williams says “every day is an adventure and a mutual learning opportunity.”  

Jasmine Williams with her students

Jasmine Williams making a peace sign with a student

Williams' current plan is to support efforts to build libraries in remote villages and open schools within different regions in China. She is involved in a charity program run by the MSS in a town called Zunyi, serving one of the most disadvantaged enclaves in China. They conduct home visits at the primary level and talk to parents and guardians in order to encourage them to keep their children in school. Last spring, they installed a library at the primary school. This summer, they will hold a week-long summer camp that focuses on Chinese and English languages and cultural enrichment.  

Jasmine Williams' students playing in the snow

Next year, Williams will be a mentor coach working with Chinese teachers and English-speaking teachers. She is also in the process of starting a nonprofit to provide free Montessori education and teacher training to marginalized communities abroad.

Williams and SOLES Associate Professor Dr. Sarina Chugani Molina are looking for ways in which they can collaborate on developing educational institutions for the poor in India. Jasmine is also committed to being more involved with SOLES. She hopes to bring SOLES students to China for practical experience in TESOL.  

Dr. Molina was her favorite professor at SOLES because she had high expectations for her students.

“Jasmine really took to heart SOLES’ teachings around social justice and working with language learners from marginalized populations, such as immigrants, migrant farmers, and refugees ... Jasmine came to SOLES with a desire to learn, but what ultimately resulted from the learning process was an expansion of her world view, which contributed not only to the understanding of the content, but, most importantly, to the transformation of her heart,” Molina says.

Williams thrives in environments that cause her to stretch her thinking and says her teaching style, philosophy and work ethic continue to be influenced by Dr. Molina’s leadership today. Her eagerness to learn at SOLES continues to serve her well in her career as she is able to “walk out of [her] home each day knowing that [she is] well equipped to listen to and guide [her] students ... it is a very fulfilling thing to have your daily work match up with what you studied.”

Her advice to current students is to “never underestimate how good you have it here [at USD]. Embrace the rigor your professors bring to your classes. You will be an example to those in your field.”

Jasmine Williams posing with a large group of students

Contact:

Corinna Lewis
corinnalewis@sandiego.edu