Exploring public service on campus and overseas

Jasmin Dalsgaard, an international student from Malaysia, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in economics and will bid farewell to Branner Hall, the public service theme dorm she has called home for the last three years.

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

As a Stanford student, Jasmin Dalsgaard studied economics and explored her interest in public service – a journey that included spending a summer working in Bangladesh as a field research assistant for an international health research organization.

In one research project, she contributed to an analysis of the health and environmental impacts of switching from firewood to liquified gas as a cooking fuel in refugee camps populated by Rohingya refugees who had fled persecution in their native Myanmar.

As a sophomore, Dalsgaard became a service scholar in Branner Hall, a residential community dedicated to exploring lives of public service and civic engagement. As a junior, she led the service scholars program while serving as a resident assistant (RA) in the dorm.

This year, Dalsgaard took first-year students under her wing, doing double-duty as an RA in Branner Hall and in a graduate student residence where frosh lived during the pandemic. As their “go-to person” in the dorm, she drew on her experience and knowledge as a student and as a big sister – she has three younger siblings – to help first-year students thrive during tumultuous times.

At Stanford, she helped establish a new student community on campus by co-founding the King International Development Association, a club for students interested in issues related to international development – the field she plans to explore after graduation.

Dalsgaard said the field offers a wide range of career opportunities – working for a social impact consulting firm, or a philanthropic, community or non-governmental organization.

She will take the first step in that journey in the fall when she begins an 11-month fellowship at a philanthropic organization as a Tom Ford Fellow, a program of the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford. Dalsgaard said she was inspired to continue exploring the role of philanthropy to advance social change following a summer internship at King Philanthropies, a foundation dedicated to making a meaningful difference for those living in extreme poverty.

Looking back, Dalsgaard said the fellowship she found as a member of Stanford Student Christians helped sustain her and deepen her faith throughout her undergraduate years.

Looking ahead, Dalsgaard said she hopes that the Class of 2021 – herself included – will have the courage and the confidence to do what they love – personally and professionally.

“I have a lot of love to give and find no greater joy than serving others,” she said. “In a world that teaches us to think of ourselves first, I hope to intentionally challenge that instinct in the things I do, both big and small.”