Jazmine DardenJazmine Darden’s career trajectory exemplifies the Earn and Learn model. Today, Jazmine is a teacher, an inventor, and an entrepreneur. She lives by the phrase “Aspire to create. Create to Inspire”. Raised in Brooklyn Park, Jazmine attended Augsburg University as a first-generation student where she utilized the TRIO and North Star STEM support networks which helped her navigate college as she excelled in her coursework. Drawn to math and physics, Jazmine loved college, yet did not have a strong sense of direction.

While working with Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), Jazmine led Girls in Engineering, Mathematics, and Science (GISE) & Guys in Science and Engineering (GEMS) programming. Each day, Jazmine drove past Dunwoody College of Technology, wondering what went on in that building off of I-94. One day her curiosity got the best of her, Jasmine stopped and asked for a tour of the campus. That tour, and meeting E.J. Daigle, the Dean of Robotics & Manufacturing led Jazmine to leave her role at MPS and enroll in an Associate’s Degree program in Engineering Drafting & Design. While a student, Jazmine took an internship with Protolabs and while she enjoyed her time there, she had an inkling that this was not the job she wanted. Through continued mentorship from Dean Daigle Jazmine decided to leave Protolabs, instead pursuing her dreams of owning her own business instead.

Jazmine now teaches 3D printing courses at Dunwoody, continues to work with MPS’s GISE and GEMS programs, and owns a handful of small businesses, most of which involve 3D printing, using her 17 3D printers (each with a Prince-inspired name). Some of Jazmine’s work includes EarHero, producing over 30,000 adjustable bands for face masks during COVID-19. She also produces and conducts maintenance on the Carnival Cruise Skyrides. Jazmine’s days are constantly changing as she invents, teaches, and works with youth to inspire creativity and innovation. Jazmine’s success stems from her innate curiosity and enthusiasm. She is always willing to engage with others and ask questions, often saying “yes!” to opportunities that arise from her inquisitiveness. While she doesn’t know what comes next yet, it is clear that Jazmine is on the right track. Jazmine is pursuing her dreams of entrepreneurship and invention while also finding ways to keep working with youth, inspiring creativity in others.

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