OP 1 recipient tells of tragic loss of father
WHEN Gold Coast year 12 graduate Jasmine Rasmussen discovered she had achieved an OP1, she didn't rush to tweet about it, post it on Facebook or call her friends - she thought of her dad.
Her father Blake Rasmussen, who had inspired her drive for study and passion for the environment, had died suddenly due to unknown causes just weeks earlier.
Boat trips out to a reef in north Queensland with her dad as a young girl first sparked her love for the ocean and a desire to pursue a career in marine biology.
"We lost him just after I graduated, it was a huge shock for our whole family, he was a great inspiration to me," Jasmine said.
"He and mum worked so hard to get me to where I am now.
"I couldn't share the news with him, but I know he would have been proud."
For the Assisi College graduate who balanced her wildlife rescue work with her studies, the academic achievement came as a surprise and a proof that the hard work had been worth it.
"I want to turn that grief into something that can make him proud, "she said.
The school captain regularly spent weekends out to sea tagging sharks, time at the Currumbin wildlife hospital, working with the Humpbacks and High-rises group and time on call for Wild Care.
"I am not going to lie, it was hard with a lot of late nights, but I am really passionate about the future and there was no way I was ever going to do something without a purpose," Jasmine said.
"I wasn't too concerned about getting a certain score, but I wasn't going to miss out on an opportunity because I didn't try my best.
"Sometimes it would be 2am and I would still be doing an assignment and mum would come in with a rescue call out, so that would be my break.
"But my work with animals was always prioritised because it contributed to the bigger picture."
Jasmine dismissed suggestions that she might now pursue more lucrative careers, such as law or medicine, now she has an OP1 under her belt.
"I have had people suggest I do something else but the environment is really important to me and ultimately I want to improve it in any way I can," she said.
"My goal is to help find solutions to third world waste management.
"First world countries have the opportunity to just ship their waste overseas, these countries don't have that option."
Jasmine, who received the Women in Business Empowering Young Women's Award earlier this year, hopes to study at Griffith University alongside the scientists she has met while volunteering.
"For me it has always been about ignoring external pressure and focus on the things you love and your greater purpose, that would be my advice," she said.