Trine education is all in the family for Kendallville mom, son

February 16, 2021


Jenna Anderson didn’t expect that when she visited Trine University with her son RJ she would eventually become a student at the school herself.

“Even though we live within a half-hour of Trine, I really knew nothing about it until we went for a college visit his junior year of high school,” the Kendallville, Indiana, resident said.

RJ is in his second year at Trine as a design engineering technology major, and Jenna recently started the Bachelor of Science in organizational leadership (BSOL) program through TrineOnline.

From that initial visit, RJ said he was drawn to Trine by its small size and the quality of its engineering program.

“To our delight, we discovered an amazing opportunity for him,” Jenna said.

A while after RJ started at Trine. Jenna was promoted to a leadership role at the Kendallville Public Library. She holds an associate degree in broadcasting and decided it was time to look for opportunities to complete a bachelor’s degree.

“I have been taking informal leadership training for several years, but finally decided it was not too late to go back to school,” she said. “Once I found out that a couple of my ‘local heroes’ have degrees in organizational leadership, it sealed the deal.”

She said she didn’t initially think about Trine as a possibility until TrineOnline’s BSOL degree program came up in an online search.

“I thought about Trine primarily as an engineering and teaching school; I didn't think about there being an online degree in organizational leadership,” she said. “These days, it's tough to tell which online schools are trustworthy, but because I knew Trine, I felt comfortable attending online.”

“Through my experience with the college, RJ’s professors and his advisors, I have really developed a trust and an admiration with the university. Once I found out that Trine has an online organizational leadership degree, it was not hard to make a decision on where I would apply.”

“I was happy when my mom told me she was attending Trine,” RJ said. “She knows how much I like Trine and she decided to attend herself.”

RJ was able to give Jenna some early pointers on using Trine platforms like the myPortal and Moodle systems.

“I walked her though the basic functions and just let her explore,” he said.

“It allowed me to jump right into the class, because I was already familiar with the format,” Jenna said. “It was a big help in getting started!”

Jenna said at this point she is only able to take one class at a time, so it’s unlikely she will march across the platform in Trine’s 2023 Commencement with RJ. But she intends to finish no matter how long it takes.

“I will appreciate RJ's help when I have to take College Algebra,” she said.

Jenna hopes the BSOL degree will help her gain the leadership skills to be a “coach” rather than a “manager.”

“I hope this degree will help me move even further in that direction, and open up career opportunities in the future,” she said. “I am happy where I am at. However, if life changes, a degree will certainly be a help in launching a new career.”

Photo: From left, RJ and Jenna Anderson.

Last Updated: 02/16/2021

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