Jessie Aquino graduated from UWW in May 2012 with a concentration in Criminal Justice. The 39-year-old works as a domestic violence/sexual assault prevention educator in Franklin County, MA and hopes to pursue her graduate studies in Criminal Justice at Boston University. Her UWW advisor: Lisa Fontes.
Every non-traditional age student has a story. What’s your story?
I always knew that I wanted to go to college but right after high school I started working, and soon after I became a single mother.
Why did you choose UMass Amherst UWW to complete your degree?
I chose UMASS UWW because it seemed like a natural fit. I had always heard wonderful things about the program and wanted to be part of that.
What was the best part about being a UWW student for you?
The best part of UWW was the convenience of working from my home or from my office.
What was your favorite class at UMass Amherst?
As crazy as this may sound, I would say all of my classes were amazing. I learned about critical thinking and that made a huge difference in how I learned and how I lived.
If you’ve wrote a prior learning portfolio, what’s been the best part of that process for you?
Writing the portfolio was a scary task that I thought I could not accomplish. It was amazing when I began the project because I had 100% support from my instructor as well as the other students in my group.
Did you take classes on-campus, blended, online? What were those experiences like for you?
I did take a blended class and it was VERY, VERY helpful. I met the students and was able to put a face to the name. Meeting the instructor helped me feel truly connected.
How did you balance work, school and family?
I always set aside time for my school work. Depending on my work schedule, some semesters I would work on my school stuff in the morning and some semesters I would do my school work in the evening.
What advice do you have for other students finishing their degrees?
My advice for other students would be take a deep breath, clear your mind and write. Write, write, write. Just 1-2 pages a day and before you know it you will have your portfolio done.
Tell us about your current job.
I work as a domestic violence/sexual assault prevention educator at NELCWIT. NELCWIT is the domestic violence/sexual assault program for Franklin County, MA.
What are your future plans professionally and personally?
I plan on continuing my education. I am applying for the Master’s program in criminal justice at Boston University.
Tell readers something cool about yourself that no one would guess about you?
My little cool fact is that I was born on the 252nd day of the year in 1974. 253rd if it’s a leap year :-) September 9th.