13:22 PM

James Completes Chapter of “Real Learning” Story

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

A “Real Learning for Real Life” commercial back in 2002 prompted Jami James to enroll at Bellevue University. Now, in 2018, she’ll be completing her journey with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.

“I had heard the commercials when I was employed with Mutual of Omaha. They had advertisements that talked about the accelerated programs Bellevue (University) was offering and that intrigued me to inquire more about going back to school,” James said. “Bellevue was also willing to accept the credits I had already accrued from the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa Western Community College, so I would not have to re-take a bunch of classes.”

As so often happens, real life had a different plan for James and she stopped out in 2005 to start a family. She wouldn’t be back in a Bellevue University classroom until the summer of 2016.

“When I made the decision to return to Bellevue (University) to complete my bachelor’s in Accounting, I had been throwing the idea around for a couple of years,” James said. “I knew in order to gain any further advancement; I would need to finish what I started.”

James credited Monica McElhaney, Professor in the College of Business, with helping her persist throughout the entire process.

“She was my advisor when I started my path in 2002 and provided such an amazing amount of knowledge and guidance during my time here,” James explained. “When I returned in 2016, she provided lots of useful information in deciding what classes to take based on what my career goals were. She is also one of the best professors I have ever known. She not only cares about you as her student, but also as a person. She wants to help you find the best path and provide you with the best tools to accomplish that.”

James chose to walk during the June 2018 commencement ceremony, but is finishing up the Kirkpatrick Signature Series during the fall term. Her degree has already paid off as she recently landed a job as an Accountant II with the City of Council Bluffs, Iowa.

James was nervous about interviewing for the position because while she had 25-years of experience in customer service, her accounting experience was limited to the classroom.

“I am confident that if I had not made that decision to return to Bellevue University in 2016 to finish the courses required to graduate, I would not have been considered for the Accountant II position. Although my life and work experiences had given me lots of knowledge for any job, I believe Bellevue (University) emphasized and helped develop the skills required to land my dream job,” she said.

A 1997 graduate of Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson High School, James credits her family with supporting her in her academic and career endeavors.

“Without my family supporting me, I could not have made it. I could not have been any prouder seeing the smiles on their faces when I walked across the stage and accepted my diploma,” she said. “They saw firsthand the hard work and determination it took to accomplish my goals and now they will be able to see us reap the rewards.”

Now James is ready to continue writing her own “Real Learning for Real Life” story.

“I have met a lot of great people and have some wonderful experiences that will make me a better person both personally and professionally,” she said.