#PeopleofNIU Photo by Michelle LaVigne/Creative Services
If degrees were awarded for determination, Jenna Bujarski earned one.
“I have found her to be an excellent student, a fine scholar and an individual of the highest character who possesses and incomparable work ethic,” said Judy Santacaterina, director of NIU’s Bachelor of General Studies program.
Bujarski, a 2016 Lincoln Laureate nominee, graduated in December with a bachelor’s degree in communication. And while her academic journey wasn’t a direct path, that didn’t hinder the 25-year-old from achieving her goals.
“I started my post-secondary education (at another college) in 2009 and was unable to complete it,” Bujarski said. “I took about two years off of school and eventually decided to go back (to school).”
She chose NIU – where she maintained a 3.6 grade point average – and continued to work full-time to finance her education. She also excelled outside the classroom, as a member of NIU’s “Life Happens” program, a volunteer at Feed My Starving Children and as an award-winning amateur photographer.
“Going to school full-time and working full-time was not easy, but I learned to manage my time and prioritize my responsibilities,” Bujarski said. “I am so happy I was able to commit to both school and work and excel in both areas of my life.”
While Bujarski’ determination and work ethic were key to her success, she also credits the Huskie community.
“Being a Huskie means having a great community of people and support through all life experiences, both good and bad,” Bujarski said. “Without the amazing professors I had I don’t think I would have done as well. I have gained so many friends and connections for my future career.”