Yasmin Gabriel 2000

First Woman of Color in Law School to Serve in the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates, Human Rights Activist, Special Assistant to the President of Tugaloo College

Yasmin Gabriel 2000 graduated from Country Day with the desire to become a medical doctor. She attended Ben Franklin Math and Science Magnet School before Country Day. Gabriel was a 1994 graduate of SummerBridge, now called Breakthrough New Orleans, which is a program that focuses on core academic skills, helping disadvantaged young people reach their full potential and placing them on the path towards college. Yasmin’s 1994 visit to Country Day at the age of 12 sold her on the school, and she took on all of its challenges, taking as many AP science and math classes as she could in upper school. She graduated from Spelman College in 2004, and entered LSU in 2005. When Katrina hit, it changed her career path as well as her life path, making her acutely aware of the importance of students’ rights and government responsibility in the wake of a natural disaster. She founded UpGrade America and produced a documentary which focused on college life after Katrina. This documentary gave rise to a movement of youth civic engagement and served as a model to prepare other academic communities in the event of a federally declared disaster. Her work to raise awareness was recently honored by the Urban League of Greater New Orleans as a “Katrina Hero” during the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. After Katrina, Yasmin left Baton Rouge for New York, where she worked for the National Urban League and Urban League of Greater Columbus (GA) for 2 years. In 2007 she enrolled in Howard University School of Law. While in law school, she was elected to two terms as the law student delegate to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates and was the first woman of color to reach this position. After law school, she worked as a law clerk in New Jersey Superior Court and as staff attorney for the Advancement Project, working to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. After law school, she traveled extensively through Australia, Africa and South America, learning about other cultures along the way. In 2014, she was hired as Special Assistant to the President of Tougaloo College, a historically African-American university in Jackson, Mississippi, where she serves as the youngest member of the President’s cabinet. She continues her public interest work with a focus on voters’ rights and youth activism.