About Jassmin Poyaoan

Jassmin comes from a line of resilient women. Her grandmother left school to support her family, raising herself from a domestic worker to a small business owner. Her mother emigrated from the Philippines to become a nurse in California and worked tirelessly to support the family.

When Jassmin was almost twelve, her mother died, and her father could not cope. Jassmin and her sister were sent to the Philippines to live with their grandmother. In the Philippines, Jassmin observed that even the brightest girls were forced by economic necessity to downscale their dreams. Determined not to compromise, she returned to America at age seventeen, taking legal custody of her sister and responsibility for their sick grandmother.

Jassmin attended Chabot College and then the University of California-Berkeley, where she studied sociology. As part of Oxfam's ActionCorps, she lobbied the US government for climate change policy after typhoon Ketsana devastated Manila. At home, Jassmin built capacity for immigrant-owned small businesses and served with JusticeCorps assisting low-income, self-represented litigants.

Jassmin attends the UCLA School of Law, where she is part of the programs in Public Interest Law and Policy and Critical Race Studies. She will use her JD to help underserved communities rise above systemic poverty.


  • BA in Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
  • JD in Law, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Professional Fields

Work History

  • Director, Community Economic Justice Clinic, East Bay Community Law Center

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