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

Becoming a single parent significantly changed my life in many ways, especially concerning my career—at the age of 42 I made the decision to leave a job I loved in graphics and advertising and went back to school to become a teacher in order to have the same schedule as my daughters. I began by teaching bilingual education in elementary school and six years later found my passion in education technology. The technology industry changes very quickly and I knew that in order to make a difference I would have to stay ahead. That’s when I became a student at JIU. This experience was the first time I had ever taken courses online. In the beginning, I was really nervous that I would do something to lose my work and fail the course, but I felt like a pro after my first course introduced me to online learning. I created and submitted many multimedia pieces and never lost one! My experience with JIU has been unforgettable. My professors were talented, worldly and creative. My colleagues were so sociable and responsive, it was almost like we had all met before—after all, we worked so hard and spent so many hours of the day and night together. Their positive, thoughtful and encouraging comments, as well as their request for my opinion, gave me a great sense of accomplishment and value. Getting my degree online was the best thing I ever did. It enabled me to work a full-time job while furthering my education on my own terms. In fact, I think JIU has spoiled me. I am now looking to complete my education supervisor certification — online!  Thank you JIU!

Margarita Garces

I lost my job in January 2013 and to help in my search I filled out an online request form for a service that would match jobs with my skills and experience level.  In addition it asked if I would also be willing to go back to school, and when I said yes they sent me a list of schools to choose from.  There were two schools that stood out to me, but when I spoke with one of the schools the gentleman barely seemed interested in me. Then I spoke to someone at JIU who wanted to know about my job history, my hobbies, interests and could relate to what I was going through - we talked for three hours!  After that conversation I knew JIU was the school for me.  I am just finishing my first course and really loving it!  

Phoebe Nichols

I came to the US from Cameroon, Africa and being here at Jones International University (JIU) is like family to me.   I was nervous at first to be working and going to school, but so far the experience has been amazing and I have even maintained a 4.0 GPA!  I still have two semesters left before I finish my degree, and I am confident that all my hard work will eventually lead me to a great job that will make my parents and siblings back in Cameroon proud!  

George Formukong

I enrolled at Jones International University®  (JIU®) in the fall of 2011.  The online format was new to me and really scared me, and there were some major adjustments I needed to make to be able to even have the time at home to complete my assignments.  Late nights, weekend work and trying to find time during summer vacation were all factors that made me not want to finish my masters, but with a lot encouragement from my family and co-workers, I persevered. 

This has been a dream come true to be able to finish a very rigorous college program, and the knowledge I have gained has already helped in my career. Soon I will be using the skills I have attained from college to work with teachers in planning instructional, purposeful and meaningful projects that tie into content knowledge, technology usage and national technology standards.  I am also making teachers aware of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and the Common Core Standards to better equipment them with new, evolving technology practices.

As I look back over the nearly two years of graduate school, I realized that the connections I have made and working with JIU professors has helped me grow as a teacher.  Thank you to the faculty and support personnel for assisting me with my endless phone calls and emails with questions and concerns.  It has been an amazing journey and truly a once in a lifetime experience.  

Dennis Henry

I started my journey at JIU in August of 2010.  At the beginning I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to complete my studies because English is my second language. However, after my first class, I discovered that I did have what it takes to succeed!  Thanks to everyone at JIU, my family, friends and co-workers I graduated, with honors, in December 2012.  Congratulations to all my fellow graduates and thank you JIU! 

Eunice Sanchez