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

JIU is the educational experience with a true custom fit. It’s a cost effective solution that allows me to have a work-life balance and a learning opportunity that is second to none. The greatest advantage that JIU presents is the ease and intuitive nature of the program’s technical delivery. The student advisors’ helpfulness is just the personal touch that makes the overall JIU experience simply the best.

Trevor Britton

I feel a part of the JIU community, even though I’m thousands of miles away. I went to a major SEC University for my undergrad and I feel more a part of the JIU community in a few short months, than I did in all four years of my undergrad. My time at JIU has been challenging, rewarding and a great academic investment. I look forward to continuing my education at JIU and reaching my dream of obtaining my masters! Thank you JIU!

Lee Portwood

JIU has enabled me to succeed in my second career, Secondary Education. Years ago I graduated from University of Wisconsin-Parkside with a Bachelors Degree in Molecular Biology and began my first career at Abbott Laboratories as an Associate Biochemist. After having three children and needing more flexibility, I found myself applying for a substitute teacher’s license, and soon found my new career. I loved being in the classroom and began researching Masters degree programs. At first I tried a local college but it was unorganized and didn’t provide the courses I needed, and then I found JIU. My emails and phone calls were immediately responded to and all of my questions were answered, the advisors expertly guided me through the financial aid and enrollment processes and the instructors were the best. Every one of the instructors assisted me without reservation. One instructor noticed I was struggling with the APA format required for all assignments. He emailed me his home phone number and spent over two hours on a Saturday morning explaining how to use APA properly so that all of my assignments (not just the ones for his course) at JIU would be properly done. I was not just a number or a faceless name on a roster to him or any of my instructors. From my first contact through graduation, JIU is the standard of excellence in online education.

Deidre Reeves

I am currently overseas living in Germany, where communication is difficult with the time difference and shear cost of a phone call. My husband is a military service member and often deploys for 6-8 months at a time. With two small children, an international living situation, and often a single parent status, I need flexibility, in order to make school work. Jones International University is understanding and works with me to make sure I am able to meet my academic goals.

Ellyn Pawlowski