Student Profile

Jennifer West

Jennifer West

Sailing the high seas is a regular occurrence for WGU student Jennifer West. She finished her Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies and is now earning her Master's in Special Education from WGU — all while living on her sail boat. Jennifer found her love for working with children when she taught sailing lessons to children in the Virgin Islands.

At the time Jennifer started her degree at WGU, she lived on her boat in the Virgin Islands and ran a charter business with her husband. She wanted to get her teaching degree and decided to attend WGU because it was the only place that reached her in her somewhat remote and definitely exotic location. The only Internet access she had was on her cell phone, and yet she still managed to complete her online education. Jennifer is grateful she found WGU because it allowed her to get her degree while continuing her business in the Virgin Islands.

Jennifer says WGU is unique because of its competency-based assessments and affordability. "The competency-based assessments allow you to master the material because you have to get to a certain performance level before you can move on," she says. "And WGU's affordability is a huge benefit because you can get a degree without going into debt for the rest of your life."

Jennifer and her husband currently reside on their boat in St. Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. They have been living on their boat for the past 10 years and have traveled all across the United States. Jennifer is now a substitute teacher at Tisbury Elementary School in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts, and she volunteers in the special education department there. She is currently putting together a program teaching special education students how to bake grain bread. "This program will help give the students functional skills and will teach them how to eat healthy," says Jennifer.

Besides sailing, Jennifer has many hobbies including cooking, reading, baking and fishing. She is also teaching herself how to play the accordion. She plans to become a special education teacher once she finishes her master's degree. Jennifer will take her knowledge and degree she earned from WGU anywhere the wind might take her.