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From the Bronx to Statesboro, a graduate’s dream to teach children turned into a reality

Born in the Bronx, New York, Jaisha Nivens was in high school when she and her three brothers relocated to Hinesville, Georgia, for her oldest brother’s military assignment at Fort Stewart and a fresh start.

“My older brother took us in because we were living in a bad situation,” she explained. “He was only 22 at the time, but he was a good role model. The experience humbled and shaped me.”

While a student at Liberty County High School, Nivens participated in an Early Education Career Pathway, which provided experiences at local day care centers and elementary schools.

“I realized I was really interested in working with kids, but I just wasn’t sure in what capacity,” said Nivens. “Once the career pathway program placed me in a third grade classroom, I loved it.”

Known for producing quality teachers in the region, Georgia Southern University was Niven’s top choice for college.

“I always wanted to come to Georgia Southern,” she said. “I saw that the University had strong education programs, and I knew I would be better prepared for my job.”

Nivens worked hard to reach her goals. She attended East Georgia State College for a year before transferring to Georgia Southern to complete her education courses and took on two day care assistant jobs to support herself. 

Now at the end of her journey at the University, she plans to move closer to her brothers, who resettled in Tampa. She has already lined up a position as a third grade teacher in the area and is studying to complete her Florida exams for teaching certification.

“I’ve always worked well with children,” she said, “and I am grateful for Georgia Southern giving me the other pieces to the puzzle to become a good teacher.”

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/R2 institution founded in 1906, offers approximately 140 different degree programs serving almost 27,000 students through 10 colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit


Posted in Graduate Stories, Press Releases