Jasmin Linares an educator, motivator, inspiration, friend and mother. The list could go on. She is APSU’s very own Military Student Center coordinator, and if you have not stopped by yet I highly recommend you do. Linares is a remarkable soul and has been a part of the Peay family for nearly a decade. She is eager to learn, headstrong and dedicated to everything and anything she sets her mind to. She is a proud alumna of APSU and holds multiple degrees. Her personality is unique and intelligence is above and beyond.

Born in Texas and raised in Mexico, Linares loved school as a little girl. She was always striving to make the best grades and knew she would be successful. By the age of 17, she made the choice to leave her home life and join the U.S. Army. After sharing the news with her mom, she packed her bags and went to basic training. During this time, she also taught herself to speak and understand English. She was homesick in the beginning but began enjoying the new atmosphere she was living in. These new changes have shaped her into the person she is today.

Later on, Linares had a daughter. She chose the name Valerie from one of her favorite TV shows at the time, “Beverly Hills 90210.” There was a point in time where my mother worked 3 jobs to support us. She made sure I knew how to look after myself at a young age because sometimes she was not home on time. Our vacations were always fun; she took saving money seriously so we could try new things. Birthdays were always special and that is when we traveled the most. She did what she needed to do to give me a great life. She taught me morals, manners, respect for myself and others, and independence.

We are inseparable and always will be. We have traveled the world together and plan to for the many more years to come. My mom instilled my culture in me growing up and told me to always be proud of the Latina I am. She taught me how to chase what I want, always work for it and never give up. She pushes me to my full potential. She is my hero and the positive light I carry with me.

Austin Derden has been a respected employee for five years and is currently the MSC graduate assistant for Ms. Jasmin. “We have had a lot of time to grow close and Jasmin was one of the first people to accept me for my religious and cultural differences on campus. Her acceptance and open-mindedness gave me the strength and confidence to run a student organization and help other students like me,” he said. Ms. Jasmin instantly develops bonds with her student workers. They all enjoy working in the center and gain comfortability. “She’s been much more than a ‘boss’ she’s been a friend, a confidant, and a fantastic human being that I’m truly blessed to know,” Derden said.

Down the hall from Mom’s office, there is the Adult, Nontraditional & Transfer Student Center ran by coordinator Ashley Kautz. “Jasmin gives her all, not only for her peers but her students as well. Our military-affiliated students have increased opportunities because of Jasmin. She helps students one-on-one in the center and also when in meetings, advocating for their needs,” Kautz said. “Jasmin is one of those people that will tell it like it is, but always to make the world a better place… and she achieves exactly that.”

Located above all these outstanding offices on the main floor is Student Life and Engagement and the office of Jawuan Rogers, SLE coordinator. “Jasmin has been a powerhouse on campus ever since she arrived. Her passion and dedication to helping all students not just those Military affiliated is truly a sight to behold. As a colleague, I know Jasmin truly has the

best interest of the student in mind in every decision that she makes. It is truly an honor being able to work with her in the division,” Jawaun said.

Lastly, a person we hold dear to our hearts. Her name is Arianna Millan. We consider her family and she is also a student on campus. “Jasmin has not only been there for me during my time in college, but also for the past 15 years of my life. She is the epitome of strong. A strong woman. A strong faith. And a strong love for her family. She’s the wise, independent woman that I aspire to be like one day,” Arianna said. “During my first semester of college, I was not as scared or anxious as I thought I would be just because I knew she had my back! She truly is like a second mother to me and to say I love her would be an understatement.” All these quotes from everyone have truly been beautiful and sweet.

Today, I am thrilled to say Ms. Jasmin will successfully retire from the United States Army after 20 years this year. Thank you for you service. This has led her to her passion for her center and has big plans for the future. I appreciate all of you who have helped me accomplish this and am eternally grateful. Reading your words not only warms my heart, but I’m sure will warm hers. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, I dedicate this piece to you, my mom. I want you to know that your hard work does not go unnoticed. You have not only influenced me but many people you come across. I am proud every day to be your daughter.