Online SNU student graduates despite adversity

Headshot of Wenella Johnson

For Wenella Johnson, finishing her bachelor’s degree was a long-held goal.

“I have always wanted to be better in all aspects of my life. Pursuing my degree would give me the confidence to apply for jobs I wanted,” Johnson said.

But like many, life’s challenges often got in the way, calling on Johnson’s spirit of perseverance. Born in Arkansas, Johnson learned the power of grit and hard work from her single mother. In the absence of her father and through financial struggle, their mother-daughter bond is often what kept them going.

“It was through her that I learned love can get you through things … It was also from her I learned perseverance. I learned hard work and dedication,” Johnson said.

By age 22, Johnson attempted to start her college degree, got married, had a child and bought her first home. After some time, she and her husband struggled to pay their mortgage, almost reaching the point of foreclosure. Even after overcoming that crisis, Johnson and her husband separated. But in the face of this, she persisted.

“By the grace of God, we were able to sell our home and not lose it to foreclosure. Through this I still continued my education. Through separation in my marriage I have continued to persevere, to achieve this tremendous goal. Through trying to meet my father and being stood up, I have continued to strive to be an ideal woman for my own daughter, because that is what I learned from my own mother. Even through recently losing the best job I’ve had, while separated from my husband, I completed my last course with SNU,” Johnson said.

Last month, Johnson completed her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. By attending SNU completely online, she was able to earn the degree she wanted—even in the midst of life’s ups and downs.

“It absolutely has set me up for success. It has given me the confidence I have always needed. It has also allowed me to close a chapter of my life, I thought would never be closed. Because of my degree, I can continue my education to earn a Master’s. This is all in an effort to be prepared to start a career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That is my dream! And SNU has made it possible,” Johnson said.

But Johnson’s SNU experience wasn’t just about academics. During a season when she truly needed it, Johnson also found spiritual and emotional support.

“What I loved about SNU was the understanding of adults who have families, work full-time, but still deserve an education. SNU was special to me because part of the curriculum is a weekly devotional. It was my absolute favorite part of my program. It helped me through some rough weeks and for that, I am grateful!”

For Johnson and for many others, working in criminal justice is more than a career—it’s a calling. Those employed in any capacity of law enforcement take on the vital job of serving others and keeping their communities safe. A bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from SNU equips graduates for that path.

Classes are offered entirely online with a schedule designed for busy, working adults. Classes are taught by experts in the field, and students learn about the societal implications of law enforcement, writing, evidence, investigations, and more.

To learn more about the program, click here.

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