Jessica Haynes always knew she wanted to earn a business degree, and she always knew that it would help her find her place. What she didn’t know was that she would have to do it without her mother who passed in 2003. What she didn’t know was that she would need to take a 14-year hiatus before going back to school. And what she didn’t know was as she was making plans to achieve a lifelong goal, so was someone else—her sister, Katrina.
“My sister was preparing for her professional journey in April 2020 as a professor at CSU,” said Jessica. “To learn that my older sister and I would both be a part of CSU, she as a professor and I as a student, was nothing short of surprising.”
Katrina Haynes wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps, who was also an educator.
After applying for 50 faculty positions and not landing an opportunity, she decided to try one more time in efforts to find her place. Her 51st and final application was sent to CSU, where she got a job teaching Psychology for the College of Arts and Sciences. As she shared the good news with her loved ones, it was then she discovered she would not be the only CSU Knight in the family.
“I was speechless. I knew that being offered a position at CSU was a divine intervention,” said Katrina. “To know that she was returning to school after 14 years to pursue a degree in human resources brought tears to my eyes. I knew our mom and grandmother was smiling down and cheering us on as we both began our journey at CSU in different capacities.”
For the Haynes sisters, the journey has been about overcoming just as much as achieving.
“Having the opportunity to share my educational journey with my sister has been both emotional and exciting at the same time,” said Jessica.
Katrina used the hardships she has overcome to relate to her students as they face struggles of their own while balancing life and school.
“I can definitely relate to some of the struggles that first-time graduates have and being able to assist with those struggles and knowing that I can make difference is my motivation to teach,” said Katrina.
In October 2021, Jessica walked across the stage to receive her diploma in human resource management. Her sister Katrina sat in the audience with the other faculty members who helped her achieve her goal.
“There were so many emotions going through my body when I saw my sister walk across the stage to receive her degree,” said Katrina. “I was very excited to stand in the gap for our deceased mother and grandmother and other family members that couldn’t be present physically. I am one super proud big sister!”
Jessica’s journey isn’t over yet. She plans to continue her education with CSU and pursue her master’s degree while being an example for those who are non-traditional students.
“I would advise anyone who is on the fence about earning their degree, especially as a non-traditional student, that it is never too late to pursue your dream career,” said Jessica.
As for Katrina, she recently accepted a full-time instructor position at CSU as a professor of psychology. Her goal is to inspire students and help them understand the power of an education as a door to opportunity.
“A quality education provides with you the necessary tools you need to sustain in society,” she said. “I have seen education, not only change my life, but also the life of family members, friends and my students.”
Jessica and Katrina’s story is one of hope, courage and determination. Despite all the unknowns these two sisters have faced, one thing they do know is that when they found CSU, they both found their place.
Disclaimer: These testimonials may not reflect the experience of all CSU students.
Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes.
CSU does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, eligibility for a position, or other career growth.