Team Member Spotlight: Jazmin Fermin

The UChicago Network for College Success (NCS) would not be able to fulfill our mission without our brilliant team members. Our staff intentionally works across difference, are experts in their field, and care deeply about young people and their postsecondary journeys. 
Each month, we'll highlight a member of our team by passing the mic to our staff and hearing directly from them about their work and purpose. This month we are highlighting Jazmin Fermin, Data Strategist at NCS

What do you do at the Network for College Success? 

As a Data Strategist, I support our national partners in creating tools and systems to support their schools’ data-driven culture. My background is actually in finance. I worked as a financial manager and accountant before coming to NCS. In those roles I had an opportunity to work on data with schools, which inspired my passion for data overall. After years of learning how to analyze data and design reports/tools, I sought out a role where I was doing just that. My passion for numbers and design help support my work with partners today. I believe that in order to have people understand their story you need to share it in a compelling way. So I am intentional about how we share data and how we hold space around data conversations.

How do you help high school teams build on the work they’re doing and make improvements? 

I’ve supported teams in understanding their own data story. I’ve encouraged data leads and team leads to show data in a way that is digestible and clear for teachers. I find that we have so much data and think that showing all the data will support our goal, but it’s more valuable to focus on and simplify how we make meaning of data. A great tool to support that is having a data rhythm that you share out with teachers and admin at the beginning of the year. This helps clarify when data conversations will happen and what data you will review at certain points throughout the year. Lastly, during those data meetings make sure to hold space for emotions as they tend to come up often.

What about the culture of NCS empowers you to show up the way you do?

I appreciate how our culture centers on our Equity Stance and offers the space for staff to explore our personal stances often. It’s a culture of reflection that I admire and makes it so that I am always in a powerful learning environment.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Having the opportunity to do what I love and grow as a person. I feel like I’ve grown so much as an individual since being at NCS. I have been pushed to show up as a leader and to hold space even when I was scared to do so. Every time I took that leap, I was supported. I love my team and the people I get to work with every day. They see me and push me to be a better version of myself, and for that I am grateful.

Can you share a memorable moment or achievement during your time with NCS?

I’ve had so many moments of accomplishment, but one that stands out to me is when I hear coaches talk about their relationship with data. I remember when I first started at NCS, so many coaches didn’t feel comfortable talking about data or engaging with it, so to see how far they have come warms my heart.

Outside of work, what are some of your hobbies or interests that you enjoy pursuing?

I am a hippie at heart and love connecting with nature. I moved out with my partner to the woods in Connecticut to be able to be with trees and animals. I find so much peace when I am outdoors so I often hike, go on nature walks, and take my morning coffee by the garden. I am building a garden for my family so that we can eat our own fruits and vegetables. The other thing I enjoy is creating. I like to paint and dabble in interior design. Currently, I am working on my home office and cannot wait to show everyone the final product.

Visit our staff directory page to learn more about Jazmin and meet other NCS staff.