Jocelyn Nolasco is currently a freshman Government and Politics Major at the University of Maryland College Park. She has served numerous leadership positions to include Class President, Community Liaison, and Vice-President of Lyrikal Storm Arts in Education Organization. An educational advocate and staunch activist, Jocelyn has been at the forefront in the fight for immigration reform and the push for the revamping of Arts in Education Programs on a local, state, and national level as well. Her tenacious leadership in such movements and intiatives has created a following of youth advocates and leaders and a culture of advocacy for those who traditionally have been disenfranchised in the political arena. It has also led to her spearheading and partnering with board members Peggy Higgins and Edward Burroughs in the Parkdale High School Auditorium Capital Improvement Planning Campaign and the Alternative Leadership Initiative. She was a 2014 candidate for the Prince George's Regional Association of Student Governments Candidate and a candidate for the Hyattsville City Council Ward 1 in 2015.
Jocelyn has formed alliances with youth around the county and state in an attempt to educate, organize, and unite youth for she believes that active participation in the political process is instrumental in maintaining an organized and civil society. She believes that Prince George’s County is and will continue to be a thriving nationwide model for equality, justice, and economic advancement as long as every voice is heard.
Define Leader? A leader is a person who understands the needs of their community and advocates not for themselves, but for the needs of the people they represent.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? I draw my inspiration from past experiences as well as seeing what is going on in my area, whether it is local, state, national, or global. The people I want to represent and the people I wish to represent make me who I am today.
What inspired you to be a leader? As I was growing up, I saw many ideas that needed to be strengthened and voices that have been oppressed. I wanted to spearhead the idea that even when things are difficult, people must push for what they believe in. If I can at least know that I changed one person’s life for the good, I am happy.
Why is what you do important? As a growing minority, it is difficult to show a voice when you are constantly told, “Oh, there are not many people like you” or “You do not really look like you can do this.” When I hear, “You can’t” or “I can’t,” I hear the complete opposite. I want to show that you can do what you love no matter what obstacles are in your way. If we do not represent ourselves, we can not function properly as a society. I am the voice you need, the change you deserve.
What do you think is the most important tool for a student leader? I believe the most important tool for a student leader is passion. One can constantly speak about change, but without the drive to start the change, what is the point of being called a student leader? With passion comes knowledge, and with knowledge comes power.
What advice do you have for someone that wants to be a student leader? Do not be afraid of your voice. No one is ever built as a student leader in one night. In order to build up to become known as a leader, I took public speaking classes as well as theater classes to be comfortable on a stage and to be able to better connect with my community.
What is an interesting fact about you? I am not a person that you will often hear that uses quotes. I want people to hear what I am speaking for, not what someone else said. This stems from my Lyrikal Storm advisor molding me to be able to write passionately and bring passion to my poetry. I also have a knack for comic books . I started off with X-Men at a young age and went from there. My favorite superhero is Captain America because of his patriotism and wanting to fight for his country, even though many told him that the odds were against him.
Where are you from / Where do you live? I live in Hyattsville, Maryland, but I am of Salvadorian descent.
Who is your favorite leader? My favorite leader is Malala Yousafzai. For those who may not have of heard of her, her life was almost taken by the Taliban because she was and is still fighting for women to be able to have equal access to education rights as males. She is in my age group and taught me that no matter what age I am or what problems I am facing, problems are no excuse for not giving a voice. I want to be a global figure as she is and be able to improve problems that are facing the world now and in the future.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? In 5 years, I see myself in my senior year of college. I will be constantly building up to my life goal as a Senator and then as President of the United States or the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Even with school and a career, I will ALWAYS be here for my community. I did not make my community, my community molded me and I would be nowhere without my community.