Otterbein Student in Cancer Remission Felt Supported by Otterbein from the Start
Posted Nov 10, 2020
During her junior year of high school, Jasmine Konneker received news that would change the course of her academic future.
“When I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, I had to immediately stop going to school and make my health my main priority,” she said. “My grades were frozen for that year so I could focus on treatment.”
Battling cancer for the remainder of her junior semester and then into her senior year, Konneker was determined to graduate on time with her classmates. While in the hospital, she completed her homework and her mother would drop it off at Westerville South High School and pick up the next batch.
All Konneker’s hard work in academics and cancer treatment led to her graduating as scheduled, returning to school in time for senior prom, and being voted Prom Queen by her fellow Wildcats. She then turned her attention to college, not really knowing what the best fit for her would be. All that changed with a TV commercial.
“My mom pointed out a commercial for Otterbein and we decided it was definitely a school we needed to look into more. We loved how close it was to our house in Westerville and that it was a perfect size for me in case any future health concerns arose. We made a campus visit appointment and decided then and there this was where I needed to be,” Konneker said.
Once enrolled, Konneker was immediately connected to campus services that would help her manage her classwork and getting to her classes. She credits Assistant Director of Otterbein Disability Services Kera McClain Manley for making sure she gets the appropriate accommodations to succeed.
“Jasmine faces challenges armed with determination and an awareness of the tools and support available for her,” said Manley. “The Academic Support Center and Disability Services is happy to help all Otterbein students reach their academic goals and navigate the challenges they may face. We encourage students to follow Jasmine’s lead in assuming control of their academic career by prioritizing their goals, proactively seeking out the resources available at Otterbein, and continuing to stay in communication with their professors throughout each semester.”
Now a sophomore sociology major and in remission, Konneker feels as supported as ever on campus thanks to the Academic Support Center and the Otterbein Police officers who give her rides to classes due to the steel rod and knee replacement in her left leg, among others.
She hopes to take her academic and life experiences into a career as a social worker or parole officer to help others, inspired by the many people who have supported her.
Konneker also has been embraced by the student organizations she has joined to meet new friends and feel connected to campus life.
“As a commuter student who doesn’t drive, I was worried about finding close friends when I arrived my first semester. But I was able to join groups like the African American Student Union and volunteer with the Center for Community Engagement’s Grandma’s House program that has led me to finding even more people to be part of my support system,” she said.
From her first campus visit to today, Konneker can’t imagine a better place to be a student. Konneker encourages everyone who might be experiencing hardships in their life to become a Cardinal.
“Otterbein makes you feel welcome and no different from any other student. Everyone wants you to succeed and they will do whatever is necessary to make it happen.”