Carlow art therapy student guest speaker at TEDxPittsburgh

Ann Ritchie -

Carlow Student gives talk at TEDxPittsburgh


Can a cookie change your world views? Jasmine Cho ’19, founder of Yummyholic, is exploring the power of baking. She explains her fresh perspective in the TEDxPittsburgh talk titled “Cookies as a Form of Activism.” The video of her talk has garnered more than 40,000 views since its July 7 posting on YouTube.

“Cookies have the ability to make any topic more palatable,” Cho said.

The art therapy major, who will graduate from Carlow University in December, is a self-taught baker. Her culinary endeavors have given rise to intricately decorated cookies in the shape of historical figures. She describes cookies as “edible blank canvases” giving a voice to topics she feels demand attention.

Her recent cookie art draws attention to Asian Americans in history with remarkable yet untold stories. The subject of one cookie is Sammy Lee, an Olympic diver and the first Asian-American of Korean descent to be a gold medalist.

TEDx organizers approached Cho about being a presenter. Challenging her to “be prepared to give the best speech of your life,” they guided her to polish the talk and focus her message.

“They were primarily interested in how I used cookies as a tool for social justice,” Cho said.

Cho’s long-term vision is to combine art therapy with baking. Attracted to Carlow for its art therapy program, Cho also was pleased to learn Carlow aligned with her values for social justice. She has enjoyed learning about the university’s Mercy heritage, particularly the involvement of the students in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March. Carlow recently selected her as one of the student-artists to participate on the current mural project underway on the fifth floor of University Commons. She is incorporating imagery from the Selma March into that piece.

“As an adult student, I was nervous about returning to college. Carlow was the school that gave me that chance,” Cho said. “During my time at Carlow, I’ve learned more about their social justice background. Carlow provides many opportunities where I can fulfill my hunger to participate in social justice causes.”

View Jasmine Cho’s talk “Cookies as a Form of Activism” on YouTube here.

Cho's work also was featured in the Pittsburgh Current highlighting her bake therapy research with Carlow University and the Center for Victims.

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