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Not many people can say they've presented legislation to the state House of Representatives, but Jazmin Nixon did it before she graduated college.

Nixon, who graduated during her college's commencement ceremony last week, presented her could-be law at the state Capitol in Harrisburg in her final weeks as a student at Penn State York.

Nixon, a member of Dallastown High School's 2011 graduation class, transferred to Penn State York her sophomore year and has pushed herself to make a difference.

Legislation: As a legislative fellow, the 23-year-old interned in the Human Services Committee and worked with Ashley McCahan, the committee's executive director, under Minority Chairman Rep. Angel Cruz. The internship, which she began in September, culminated in her drafting her own legislation and presenting it to the House.

Nixon's legislation would provide for open textbooks that would be available to students online.

"I love policy and helping people,” Nixon said, adding that she hopes the proposal will be a step toward making higher education more affordable.

Her legislation also calls for a council of faculty members to review textbooks for some of the most popular college core courses and also provides for a grant program to support the creation, use and access to open textbooks, according to a release.

Although only House members can introduce legislation, some legislation presented by previous interns in the program has been picked up and sponsored by members in the past. Nixon said she felt her presentation went well and hopes her legislation gains the traction it needs to move forward.

Diapers and donations: Nixon's drafted legislation isn't the only project she spearheaded to help others.

For her senior project, the human development and family studies student collected a variety of baby items, including diapers, wipes and infant clothing, which will be distributed through the YWCA in York.

Nixon's "Happy Baby Initiative" collection, which ran through the end of November, brought in 220 clothing items, 948 diapers, 1,234 wipes, and 120 other items including blankets, coats, bottles and pacifiers, according to a press release.

“It can be difficult for low-income families to provide diapers and clothing for their babies, and I wanted to help them,” Nixon said in the release. “Children have a right to a healthy development; therefore I wanted to do something to make that possible. I believe that as a community, we can play a role in making sure that young children are given the opportunity to have a healthy development.”

Nixon earned the title of Student Marshall, an honor for having the highest GPA in her major. Having graduated, she hopes to pursue a career that will allow her to delve deeper into her love of public policy as well as help those in need.

— Reach Jessica Schladebeck at jschladebeck@yorkdispatch.com.

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