Friday, July 31, 2020

Sisters by Blood, Graduates by Determination – Meet Jenna and Denise Edeline

This story was originally published on our website found here.

Going back to college as a working adult can seem like a daunting task. One piece of advice given to new students is to find a support system whether it be a spouse, parent, cousin, friend, or sibling.
For Jenna and Denise Edeline, they found support and encouragement as sisters both chasing their educational goals at Peirce College together.

Jenna Edeline (left) and Denise Edeline (right)
Both Jenna and Denise didn’t originally start their degree journeys at Peirce College, though. They each started at different universities seeking different career paths. For Jenna, she originally went into a nursing program, but after her interests changed and she ran into some physical and mental health issues, she decided to take a step back from college. Denise, who began at a different school not long after Jenna, said after starting classes, she didn’t think she was made for college and decided to come back to Philly to enter the workforce.

It wasn’t long, though, before Jenna had a realization about her desire to finish her degree. “A little over a year after stopping college, I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy. Looking at him made me want to give him so much more than I could currently offer. After a few months, I started looking into where to finish my degree.”

Luckily, Jenna and Denise’s aunt knew someone who went to Peirce and got a tuition discount as a City of Philadelphia employee. This immediately sparked Jenna’s interest, especially since she is a City of Philadelphia employee. “One of my biggest fears about going back to school was not being able to afford it, but as a City employee, there was hope I could do it with the discount and support,” explained Jenna.

Jenna contacted Peirce in the Fall of 2016 and started classes in the Spring of 2017 enrolling in Peirce’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program.

Denise, on the other hand, had a different journey back to college. After initially feeling as though she couldn’t complete school, she put her energy into the workforce and found herself moving from the food industry into a law firm where her interest for education began to grow again. “I started to really like what I was doing at my new job and my interest in furthering my education began to grow,” said Denise. “Jenna told me about Peirce and how I could take just a class or two a session and I wouldn’t get overwhelmed. I was terrified at first, but Jenna convinced me I could do it.”

So, in the Fall of 2018, Denise was officially enrolled in Peirce’s Associate in Science in General Studies program eager to achieve this goal.

Luckily, both Jenna and Denise were able to transfer in credits from their previous college experience helping to save them both time and money pushing them further along to get to their end goal even sooner. And before they knew it, they were at their finish line, officially earning their degrees in the 2019-2020 academic year as proud members of the Class of 2020.

Jenna said, “While at Peirce College, in the Business Administration program, I gained a sense of self-worth. Knowing I could earn my bachelor’s degree as a full-time employee while also being a mom makes me wonder what else I can do. It gave me the confidence to know I am strong enough and can succeed no matter what hand I am served in life. After receiving my degree, I was offered to take on more responsibilities in my department for the City of Philadelphia. I am currently a Service Representative, but am incorporating Safety Officer duties now thanks to earning my degree.”

Denise said, “From the General Studies program, I gained higher self-esteem and more confidence. I was told I would never get this far and I did it! I finally succeeded in life and have something to show for it. I chose this program because I knew it would introduce me to more interests and what I could strive to achieve with a bachelor’s degree.”

As they reflect back on their time at Peirce, they both explain their most valued points and memories in different ways.

Jenna said, “The aspect of my Peirce education I value the most is the faculty. I had such a smooth transition coming into a new school, and that is typically not easy for me. I always felt comfortable asking questions and the professors always boosted my confidence. Dr. Charlene Glenn, in particular, always pushed me to do better and each time I had her I wanted to prove to her I could do even better than the last time I had her. She encouraged me to continue my education and look into a master’s degree!”

Denise said, “I loved the professors, the flexible scheduling, and the self-confidence the College gave me. The flexible scheduling allowed me to complete work when I was able and allowed me to take classes at my pace. The confidence I gained proved to me I can do anything I put my mind to, even if others say differently.”

Although Jenna and Denise found the support they needed at Peirce, they also explained it wouldn’t have been possible without each other. They were born less than a year apart, so growing up, they have always gone to school together. Going to Peirce together just felt right.

“Before Denise started at Peirce, she would help me study and help edit my papers. Then, when Denise started, I did the same for her,” explained Jenna. “There were a few times when Denise wanted to give up, but I told her I wasn’t going to graduate without her. Sometimes I was beyond exhausted after being up all night with a toddler, and Denise would motivate me to keep going. I think we are lucky to have each other.”

Now, as Class of 2020 graduates, both Jenna and Denise are considering their next degrees looking into Peirce’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management and the Bachelor of Science in Human Services Leadership, respectively.

As the sisters celebrate their recent accomplishments while preparing for what’s ahead, they both wanted to give a big thank you to their family for always being there and never giving up on them. They said, “A special thanks to our mom for always being our rock and for telling us if you have a dream or goal, never give up on it no matter how long it takes to get there.”

Congratulations to both Jenna and Denise! Peirce College hopes to see you both back soon.