Before Jasmine L. Boles was elected Miss North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University 2016-17, she had some idea that the position brought with it a great deal of responsibility. She just didn't know how much.
“It’s a lot like living in a fish bowl,” she said. “When it gets hard, I have to remember why I did this. This is bigger than me. Just because I’m having a bad day, that means nothing. I could be a light to someone else.”
Since she was 10 years old, Boles has been in the position of leader for her younger siblings and taking in all her parents taught her about being the example.
“I wanted to be successful for myself and to show them that they can do that and we have great parents to help you,” she said of her siblings.
Boles, 21, is a product of a blended family. When she was young, her divorced parents remarried and brought with them a new side to her family – the collective group that she calls her foundation.
“I have so many people in one family. I have four sets of families and grandparents,” she said. “It’s a lot to think about and to take in, but it also means there are a lot of people who love and support me.”
That support has propelled Boles to major in industrial and systems engineering and to take advantage of all the opportunities available to her, including participating in the Helping Orient Minorities in Engineering Program. The program led to her participation in a cooperative education experience at Toyota in Erlanger, Kentucky, as a freshman.
“My mentors from the program constantly pushed me outside of my box. They showed me tough love – they saw my potential,” Boles shared. “It wasn't until I got the position that I realized how rare this was for a freshman.”
When she returned as a sophomore, Boles became involved with several student and community groups, including the creative organization, Couture Productions; a mentorship program at a local elementary school, I Am UNLIMITED; the N.C. A&T chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers; and eventually, the Student Government Association.
“I was a senator for District IV, the College of Engineering. Coming from senator to Miss A&T gave me a different perspective of how A&T works, how it is governed, how we run and function as a university,” Boles said. “That allowed me to develop my platform.”
Her platform is “Public Queen Announcement: Together We Serve, Yields the Solution.” Since her election to Miss A&T, Boles has maintained that she wants to encourage her peers across campus to participate in public service on campus and around the community.
“It’s about the impact you make, and you can’t have such a large impact without collaboration,” Boles said. “You can’t do that on your own. You have to utilize the talent of the people around campus.”
While her responsibilities as Miss A&T and staying abreast of course work can sometimes be daunting, Boles has a great deal of support from her industrial and systems engineering classmate and friend, Mister A&T Jeffron Q. Smalls.
“I've known Jeff since freshman year. Having a friend there really helps the process because we didn't have to build that relationship,” she said. “We see each other on different levels. We talk constantly. We have to make decisions together, even on something as small as what we are wearing or what we’re going to say. We have to be of one accord. Everyone is an individual, but as Mister and Miss, we are one. We are synchronized.”
Boles is set to graduate in December 2017 and is still deciding between entering the work force or attending graduate school.