JIU Students and Alumni

JIU STUDENTS are a diverse group of adult learners who are leaders, motivated to advance their careers and change their lives.  Each student has a personal story and unique reasons for pursuing their education at JIU.  They may be just starting out in their careers or may have been in their field for many years and are looking to expand their skills or change jobs altogether. 

As different as they are, all our students share a common belief that knowledge is critical to their professional and personal growth.


It wasn’t until boot camp and long-term exposure to toxic chemicals that Air Force Veteran, Chris Paschane, discovered his passion for fitness.  However, after earning several top fitness credentials, Chris realized his career would eventually plateau if he didn't acquire the essential business knowledge he needed to take his career to the next level.  His MBA in Entrepreneurship from Jones International University gave him the business fundamentals required to launch his company that is focused on helping other veterans succeed.  

Chris Paschane

Vanessa used the tools and skills from her master’s courses at Jones International University, as building blocks to create and launch a non-profit organization. The Ayden Rae Foundation was born from a deep passion that drives Vanessa to impact her community and the world with the good news that woman can survive a life threatening pregnancy condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). At Jones International University you really do, Learn it today. Use it tomorrow. Own it forever. Vanessa is a powerful testimony of how hard work, dedication and perseverance really can change the world!

Vanessa Pack

Furthering your education isn’t always about moving up the ladder. Sometimes the ability to enrich your life with experiences, both personal and interpersonal, can be enough motivation to reach for greater heights. Such is the case with Miguel Saenz, who recently received his Master’s degree in Leading The Customer-Driven Organization from JIU. It’s not only opened up doors of opportunity, but more importantly, it’s exponentially expanded his universe outside of work.

Miguel Saenz

Dr. Toni Hull always knew she wanted to be a teacher. But it wasn’t until she completed her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Jones International University that she realized she wanted to become a trailblazer in the education field. Through her doctorate coursework, Toni gained the skills, knowledge, and confidence to move beyond the classroom. Today Toni guides her peers in improving their classroom methods and, in doing so, supports the development of educational practices for students across the country.

Toni Hull

Opportunity doesn’t always knock. Sometimes it just sits there waiting to be recognized. For Taino Palermo, it came in the form of a Masters of Arts in Business Communication specializing in Entrepreneurship from JIU. His degree has provided him with the valuable skills and knowledge required to turn his passion for helping the underserved youth of Syracuse, New York into a vital force for positive change in his community.

Taino is now pursuing his Doctorate in K-12 Education Leadership from JIU.

Taino Palermo

We want to hear your story...

JIU Students Share Their Stories

I came to the USA at the age of 17 from Guatemala, Central America.  I arrived on a Sunday evening and my dad found me a job cleaning tables in a Mexican restaurant the very next day. I did not speak English and neither did my parents.  I had to learn very fast and became my parent’s keeper because they needed me for everything. I started saving right away because I knew I needed to be better.  I needed to better myself.  I needed to go to school. I started taking classes at JIU in October 2012 and I have been super happy ever since.  JIU has made me realize how I can be my best.  I will graduate in October of this year and I cannot wait to find a job that will challenge me.  I need a rewarding career and I know JIU will get me there.

Estela Slikker

My JIU experience was one of sheer anxiety and joy all at the same time. First, the class work made me think more critically when responding to the information; second, the collaboration with my cohort helped me to embrace multiple perspectives; and, third, my mentor met me where I was and brought me up to where I needed to be. The people that work behind the scenes such as Student Support and the professors all played a major role in helping me attaining this illustrious goal.  I would encourage anyone searching for an on-line university to give JIU a call, it will change your life.

Troy Bell

As a current MBA Student, the resources that JIU has for its students are amazing and the professors are awesome. The way the courses are set up makes it easy for me to have my assignments turned in on time. I also like the way that the professors give you all the assignments at once so that you can work ahead if you want or need to.  In addition, whenever you have questions or concerns about anything, there is always a friendly JIU person to talk to that will answer all of your questions. I never thought that I would be able to see my future of being a business owner come together like it has. Now I am more confident in the success of my business because of JIU. JIU is a wonderful school and I would recommend it to any of my friends that want to advance their careers in the areas that are offered. Thanks JIU for helping me gain the confidence I needed to create a better future for myself.

Kenya Green

I started my Masters program at JIU right after separating from my husband. My son and I moved in with my sister and began a new journey. Since that faithful day in February of 2011, I have finished my MEd in Elementary Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, and referred my sister to JIU where she earned her Masters in Healthcare Administration.  I am now in my last class to receive my MEd in K-12 Instructional Technology!! Through my time at JIU, I have met people from all around the world and some I still keep in contact with! JIU has not only changed my life, but has changed my sister's as well. Thank you, JIU!

Susan Knight

I’ve wanted my doctorate since before I completed my bachelors; however, sometimes life gets in the way and puts plans on “hold.”  I ran into Admissions Counselor, Emita Samuels, at a book signing and we chatted a bit about me wanting my Ph.D. or Ed.D. so badly, but my disability (my back and legs don’t work too well) and I would need an online program.  She talked to me about JIU and convinced me it could be done.  I love JIU.  It allows me the flexibility with my medical appointments I need and, while doing homework, if I tire, I can stop until I’m ready to go ahead.  The instructors have been wonderful.  I thank Emita and all the SSAs I’ve had during my tenure and am on track to finish when I had planned.  I intend to teach History in Europe when my doctorate is completed. 

Wanda Underwood