Jasmina Vajzovic, ‘15
Hometown: Fenton, Mo., near St. Louis
Undergrad: Saint Louis University
College majors: Political Science and Economics
Law School activities: Kapnick Leadership Initiative facilitator; John M. Olin student fellow in Law and Economics; Law Women’s Caucus; Law and Economic Society; Big Sibling Program; Chicago Journal of International Law, International Immersion program in The Hague, Netherlands; Spring Break of Service at the Knox County Public Defender's Community Law Office in Knoxville, Tennessee; completed Keystone Professionalism and Leadership Program.
When Jasmina Vajzovic’s family moved to Missouri from Bosnia when she was 4, it sparked in her a work ethic that has propelled her through law school.
Her mom, who had been an attorney in Bosnia, worked cleaning houses when they first moved to America, and her dad, an engineer, worked in a factory. But they continued to focus on bigger dreams: Her mom earned her CPA degree, and her dad earned a doctorate in leadership—and both went on to become successful entrepreneurs. Today, they own an insurance agency, a real estate company, and a logistics company. Her father is also an adjunct professor at Webster University, where he teaches Organizational Behavior and Leadership.
“As a child, I learned that you’re able to succeed if you work hard,” she said. “Clearly my parents were able to do that. They came in their 30s to a country where they didn’t know the language, and still they succeeded. I learned you can do almost anything you put your mind to.”
At the Law School, Jasmina has earned a string of successes, including being named as an Olin student fellow in law and economics and earning a spot as one of the 12 Schiff Hardin facilitators in the debut year of the Kapnick Leadership Initiative, an experience she describes as one of her “biggest accomplishments.”
“I try to work hard but also live in the moment,” she said. “I’m aware that everything passes and nothing is set in stone. You can always build your career to whatever you want it to be.”
Her interest in law and economics drew her to Chicago Law, which meant living away from her family for the first time and adjusting to a new way of learning.
“I went to college in my hometown, so I had the opportunity to go home every week for Sunday dinner with my family,” she said. “Here, I had to adjust to a city where I didn’t know anybody, plus I had to deal with the completely different learning style and realize how much work I needed to put in to get the most out of it.”
Jasmina, who plans to work as an associate in Perkins Coie’s Chicago office after graduation, spends her free time working out and hanging out with friends, with whom she shares a love for “brunch, dancing, and ice cream.” She said her time at the Law School has made her more mature and given her a broader perspective on life.
“I’m happier than I’ve ever been because I am constantly challenged and working toward improving myself,” she said. “I'm surrounded by amazing and intelligent people that make life fun. My family background, and even UChicago Law's programming on work/life balance and wellness, have given me a better perspective on the big picture of life—knowing that work and school aren't everything, but that these things can make life more enjoyable by pushing you out of your comfort zone.”
Her advice to 1Ls:
“Stay positive and remember that grades don’t matter as much as you think they do. It’s more important for you to have a great experience and really get to know your peers.”