Yasmene is a doctoral student in the Education Leadership program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While at Harvard, Yasmene founded ColorFULL, an organization that collaborates with educators, their students, and artists to create culturally affirming curriculum and resources, with two of her colleagues — Charisse Taylor and Bonnie Lo. ColorFULL won first place and audience choice at this year’s HIVE (Harvard GSE Innovation & Ventures in Education) innovation pitch competition at the Harvard I-Lab, and earned a 2019 Scaling Grant from Harvard’s Office of the President’s Full Promise Innovation Fund.
She is the 2018 awardee of the Harvard Innovation Lab’s Education Entrepreneurship Fellowship, and was named the 2017 winner of the Rising Star in Education award. Prior to arriving at Harvard, Yasmene earned her J.D. from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, where she received the 2016 Public Service Award for graduating students who, during their law school careers, engaged in legal work that significantly advances the public interest.
In 2012, Yasmene was named one of Maryland’s Twenty Emerging Leaders in their Twenties, following her time as a trained Organizer through the Industrial Areas Foundation and their local affiliate, BUILD: Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development. She also served as co-chair of the Baltimore Education Coalition as the organization led the unification of 3,000 people, the Mayor, Baltimore City Schools, the Baltimore City Senate and House Delegation, and three-quarters of Maryland’s Legislature to push the passage of up to $1 billion in funding to improve school facilities for Baltimore’s 85,000 students. Yasmene has organized with parent, teacher, and youth leaders towards impactful victories for students – from ensuring filtered lead-free water for students, to organizing teachers in an unprecedented contract negotiation, to averting $150 million in budget cuts.
Her teaching career began in Baltimore in 2008, where she grew frustrated with inequities impacting the achievement and wellbeing of students and teachers in her hometown.