Thomas Edison State University By Thomas Edison State University • March 20, 2024

Meet Jamie Schaefer: Thomas Edison State University's New Student Trustee

Jamie Schaefer, the newest student trustee elected to Thomas Edison State University’s Board of Trustees, followed an educational journey that was anything but linear.

The idea of college once seemed impossible after dropping out of high school. However, Schaefer’s life experiences have affirmed that it’s never too late to unlock your full potential.

Today, the aspiring CPA is in her final year of TESU's bachelor's degree program in business administration in accounting. Earning her GED in 2007, she later graduated Middlesex College with highest honors as a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, earning an Associate Degree in Applied Sciences and majoring in accounting.

The prestigious role of student trustee isn't one that's easily attained. Schaefer's nomination and selection process was overseen by TESU's Chief Operating Officer Michael Mancini and University President Merodie A. Hancock, Ph.D. From there, she underwent a rigorous interview process to evaluate her qualifications and vision for the role.

"Being nominated for this trustee role felt like recognition for my discipline and hard work," Schaefer said. "It is an honor and a privilege to represent my peers."

Like many others in similar circumstances, the COVID pandemic was a turning point for Schaefer. She gave birth to her daughter in February 2020, a month before the March 2020 shutdowns began. Laid off as a waitress due to restaurant closures, all while caring for a newborn, proved particularly challenging. It was during this time that she noticed those in her social circle who had college degrees were facing fewer struggles. It was then that she decided it was the time to go back to school, earn her degree and provide a better quality of life for her family.

It started with her enrolling at Middlesex College. As the mother of an active 4-year-old juggling college coursework and a career, Schaefer excels in her studies and has been named to the President’s List, an honor bestowed on TESU undergraduate program students who exhibit a commitment to academic excellence during their degree journey, and the Dean’s List at Middlesex in each term of her academic career.

Today, Schaefer works as a bookkeeper at Roberta Smith, CPA, LLC specializing in accounting for nonprofit entities. She hopes to use her passion for accounting and social justice to pursue a career in forensic accounting.

As student trustee, Schaefer wants to advocate for TESU's diverse students - single parents, veterans, incarcerated individuals and others.

"Every student should have access to the tools and programs desired to obtain their educational goals and achieve their dreams," she said.

Schaefer's own dreams of college once seemed impossible. Now, with a focus on inclusivity and empowerment, she's proud to represent a diverse student body from all walks of life dedicated to growth and success. She credits TESU with giving her opportunities for advancement that will alter the trajectory of her life for the better.

"As a student trustee, I hope to provide a voice to all TESU students and serve the student body and university that gave me a future," Schaefer said.

The Role of a Student Trustee

Two student representatives – a voting member and an alternate – serve on the Board of Trustees each year. During their first year, student trustees attend and participate in discussion at all meetings but cannot vote. Students become a voting member of the Board in their second year.

All Thomas Edison State University Board of Trustee meetings are open for viewing to the public. Meetings may be held in the Kelsey Board Room of the University or via Zoom. To register for an upcoming meeting and watch the proceedings, visit the calendar, here.

Thomas Edison State University

Written by Thomas Edison State University

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