Alumna reflects on time at Penn State World Campus

Ten years ago, Nicole Jankowski was preparing to graduate from Penn State World Campus as a young working mom. Now, she is now an accomplished human resources professional and runs a small business with her husband.

She said she wouldn’t be where she is today without her degree from Penn State World Campus.

“I went into college with a lot on my plate and I didn’t have that much confidence. I wasn’t even sure how to do it or what I was going to do after I was done,” said Jankowski. “World Campus gave me the confidence to be able to take risks and take on new challenges.”

Jankowski began her college career at Penn State Berks but said she was unable to balance raising her son, Gavin, while attending in-person classes. Her adviser encouraged her to transfer to Penn State World Campus to take her courses online.

“It was just the format that I needed at the time,” said Jankowski. “It allowed me to work full-time. It allowed me to stay in school and take even more classes than I was able to when I was in person. It allowed me to still be a mom, be a wife, and have somewhat of a social life. It just ended up working out perfect.”

In summer 2011, Jankowski graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership. While working toward her degree, Jankowski worked in HR and earned her Professional in Human Resources certification. She later earned her Senior Professional in Human Resources certification.

Jankowski now works as an HR manager and leads a team for a public accounting firm in Reading, Pennsylvania.

In 2015, Jankowski and her husband decided to open a business called Silly Lilly’s Pierogies LLC, named after their daughter Lilly, 9.

They started the business as a passion project to honor Jankowski’s late grandmother and her Polish heritage. For now, the business is an online distributor and does special events.

Jankowski’s son, Gavin, is now 19 and attends Penn State Berks. He plans to transfer to University Park next fall.

Jankowski said Gavin has had his heart set on attending Penn State since she went there, and that seeing the University through his eyes, a decade later, has made the experience come full circle.