BIS in Individualized Study

Jack Turner, 2009

Jack Turner

Jack Turner did some exploring professionally.

In 1981, he earned an associate's degree in forestry, worked as a nursing assistant, and then as an assistant alcohol counselor. Close to burn out from that demanding job, he became interested in massage therapy and ultimately opened his own business. Jack translated that into a job as a massage therapist with the federal government.

Twenty years passed and Jack found himself contemplating new interests and challenges. His wife had gone back to college and encouraged him to do likewise. But his initial response was, "No way. I never liked school."

In the meantime, however, at forty-eight years of age, Jack was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). He learned all about ADHD, sought treatment, and as a result, for the first time in his life was able to be focused and structured. Then Jack discovered Mason's BIS program.

Not only did George Mason University have a great reputation but with the BIS program, "I could use my work experience. It accepted and honored so many of my credits. The advising I got was very good and kept me on track. The BIS program is so wide open. It's very empowering."

Jack found that the skills he was learning as a BIS student were great skills to have. "Those same qualities of critical thinking, quality thinking are all good stuff for regular life too."

In May 2009, he graduated with a BIS concentration in health communications studies. He was accepted into graduate school where he will begin work on his master's degree.

This man who "never liked school" is very happy." I've got that degree that was an accepted norm for others. And self-confidence, finally finishing a four-year goal! I consider graduate school the Holy Grail of the BIS program."

When reflecting back on his experience in the BIS program he says, "I think of the Wizard of Oz. The tornado of the BIS program sent me to the Land of Oz and I'm still there! Basically it's the place where miracles happen."

By Pamela J. Martin