Penn State World Campus alumna reflects on college experience

March 02, 2016

Yonna Jolly has always been a Penn Stater. 

A recent graduate from Penn State World Campus with a bachelor's degree in psychology, Jolly first became part of the University community years ago at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. 

"I suspended my degree program at that time to pursue some working opportunities," she said. "So it was wonderful to be able to come back and finish my degree." 

A turning point

In December 2010, Jolly watched her parents' home burn to the ground. 

"That single moment signified that there are no guarantees with anything," she said, "and not having my degree bothered me." 

She re-enrolled the very next summer — but knew she would face challenges along the way. 

Living outside of Pennsylvania, she knew commuting to a Penn State campus would not be an option. And besides, she wanted to keep working. 

"I work for a very large biotechnology company in our customer care area," she said, "and I manage several teams within the organization." 

That's when she decided Penn State World Campus would fit her needs and allow her to earn a Penn State degree.

Crossing the stage

Despite the challenges, Jolly was dedicated to success — and reached her goals with the support of her family and from Penn State faculty and staff. 

"The support that I have received throughout my academic journey from Penn State World Campus has been amazing," Jolly said. "I always felt like I could get an answer if I ever needed one." 

Having a Penn State degree was an important goal attained for Jolly and, she said, Penn State's reputation will benefit her professionally. And she was also able to apply her coursework in psychology to her work managing large teams right away. 

Part of the Penn State Family 

Online education through Penn State World Campus opens doors for students all over the world to earn a Penn State degree. "It's allowed me ultimately to be a Penn Stater, which has been really important to me in my choice of college," Jolly said. "I've been lucky to get my degree that way." 

And her pride in the University, as well as her connection to Penn State's vast alumni network, is just as strong. 

"I have always had a ton of school spirit from being a student here, and I feel extremely lucky to complete my academic journey through Penn State World Campus." 

Last Updated March 14, 2016