Prairie Stars on the Move: Jelena Marasevic


One student that is making waves on campus lately is Jelena Marasevic, a Chicago resident of Serbian nationality, sophomore biology major, and CAP honors student. Among other things, she is a UIS orientation leader for incoming freshmen, as well as a CAP peer mentor and tutor for other honors students that may struggle with writing or adjusting to life at a university. She enjoys helping new students get comfortable as they embark on that daunting journey from high school to college. As such, Jelena can be found at Cliff White’s CAP writing workshops, answering questions and assisting in interdisciplinary tutoring sessions.

As of late, she has found sisterhood in Tri Sigma Sorority, Inc. and has joined their ranks. Jelena’s prospective goals include volunteering as much as possible throughout her time here on campus and continuing to broaden her horizons. Last year, she volunteered for the Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach, which supplies vital hospital equipment and resources to developing regions in need of assistance. She sorted these supplies to prepare them for proper transport and use. In her spare time, Jelena loves to utilize her passion for photography. Viewing her hobby as an opportunity to grow, she volunteered to take pictures for the previous year’s UIS International Festival event, which featured food, dance, costume, and other cultural tokens from around the world.

Aside from her accomplishments, what sets Jelena apart from other students is her freedom of self-expression. She has multiple tattoos and facial piercings, which has often been vilified and seen as a red flag for irresponsibility or delinquency. Fernando Contreras, one of her good friends on campus, admitted that he was slightly intimidated by her appearance at first glance. Vibrant tattoos create a powerful first impression regardless of stance. However, he claimed that the initial hesitation melted away the second she spoke to him. “She’s really outgoing and makes anyone feel welcome,” he smiled. “We bonded instantly.” Every day, Jelena proves that body modifications are not indicative of bad character or a lack of ambition. She inspires other students on campus to be unafraid to express themselves nor step out into the “real world” to make their mark.