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

JIU Students Share Their Stories

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

I graduated from Jones International University’s Master of Education program in English as a Second Language in 2011. What an experience! I enjoyed the small class size, the knowledgeable staff and the course duration of only eight weeks per course! I appreciated that as a single mom of a young toddler, I will still able to balance coursework, my career and motherhood. Thanks to JIU I was able to complete my lateral entry requirements for a full teaching license for the state of North Carolina! It was a very profound experience and because of JIU I feel like an expert in the classroom and among my colleagues.

Kia Pinkney

My entire JIU experience was outstanding!! All of the JIU Professors and staff were extremely knowledgeable, helpful and on their game! The courses brought an abundance of practical and real world experience to help me to prepare for that next big step into the executive management world. 

Bruce Donnelly

My experience at JIU has been a great. I was able to continue working and fit school into my daily life. They have given me the tools I need to succeed in this competitive world. I was tired of having a job and thanks to JIU now I can have a career. Thank You JIU for all you done.

Luvonia Davis