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 am from Sri Lanka and decided to pursue my doctorate degree in business from JIU.  Everyone at JIU was very supportive, but I was especially honored to have Dr. Tilokie Depoo as my dissertation chair.  Thank to him I was able to get a job as the Adjunct Professor at the Business School of Metropolitan College of New York where I worked for over two years.  Since then I was offered a position at Wells College in Aurora, New York as the Assistant Professor of the Business School.  My doctorate degree from JIU has helped me accomplish my academic and career goals.  Thank you Dr. Depoo and everyone at JIU for giving me the education I needed to achieve my dreams. 

Dr. Gehan Shanmuganathan

Jones International University helped me fulfill my dreams of continuing my education.  The course flexibility, superior staff and the easy-to-use online learning software enabled me to continue my education while still being able to spend time with my family and friends.  I finished my master’s degree in January, and was recently promoted to Chief Manager. I know my JIU degree helped me advance in my career and fulfill my dreams. Thank you JIU!

Brigida Diaz

My name is Christopher Wood and I live in Binghamton, NY where I work as a Developmental Disabilities Secure Care Treatment Aide.  Like most states, the New York budget is facing cuts and I am in jeopardy of losing my job. I decided to enhance my skills by continuing my education at Jones International University (JIU) with a MBA in Project Management so that I don’t have to worry about what I am going to do if I lose my job. Since JIU is a regionally accredited university, I know that my degree will be valued anywhere, my options are wide open and I am confident that my future is bright.  And, most importantly, I know that with my degree that I will be able to support my family no matter what happens.  Thank you, Jones International University.

Christopher Wood

Getting my Graduate Degree was truly an achievement.  I wanted to prove to my daughter, who is now in college that it doesn’t matter where you are in life that you can still learn.  I think I did that by graduating Summa Cum Laude at the age of 53.

Elaine Lofton

I decided to pursue my Masters in Education from Jones International University with the goal of completing my degree and then getting licensed to teach.  I will be almost 50 years old by the time I finish my degree.  That fact does not concern me at all.  I have a deep love for children and a desire to be that person who makes a difference in the lives of others.  I will take my Masters in Education my passion for education and go out there and help those students who need me the most.I chose JIU because it is the first fully accredited online university. I really feel proud of my affiliation with JIU and its wonderful staff who help and respond to issues and questions directly and ethically.

Barbara Peterson