Select Page


Reading Time: 6 – 9 minutes
Jerrod Pass always had his eyes on the stars – but when the path to his college degree took an unexpected turn, his dreams fell to the ground. See how Post University picked him up, personalized his online learning experience, and helped him launch an upward career trajectory.

Jerrod Pass Graduation Portrait


It’s a cool afternoon outside, but you would never know. Inside this massive aerospace facility, weather and time don’t really exist. In other words, the conditions of this exacting, controlled environment intentionally stay the same for the safety of the precious machinery and personnel within. 

The floor surface that extends thousands of square feet is clean and shining an off-white, grayish color. So are the four-story walls that support the endless canopy of ceiling structure. The only thing that cuts through the constant in the hangar is sound – and there is a sound first noticeable as a muffle that is now turning into a rumble. The sound is of footsteps. Very large footsteps, made by a very large man. 

Topped by a yellow hard hat, a mountain of muscle approaches. Luckily, as the conversation begins, this foreboding figure is extremely friendly. In fact, Jerrod Pass is the living definition of dichotomy – an accomplished soldier and rising aerospace professional who is also a goofball and infectiously positive spirit.

Growing Up While Looking Up

Jerrod was raised in Jacksonville, North Carolina – a city hugging the Atlantic coast with a population that has grown by more than 9,000 percent since 1930. Jacksonville has the distinction as the youngest city in the United States, where the average age of the citizenry is less than 23 years. This is due to the large military presence – it being the home of the United States Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune and New River Air Station.

Pass was the youngest of three children raised by a single mother. Exhibiting a silver lining outlook that shines through all of his comments, Jerrod describes his upbringing: “Things happen when you’re younger and you learn as you get older… but my childhood went well, the way I wanted to.”

Jerrod Pass Childhood Photo

Young Jerrod had one strong passion, and one big curiosity. He was passionate about playing football, an interest fueled by observing his uncle, Patrick Pass. Patrick was a baseball and football star drafted by both the Major League Baseball Florida Marlins and the National Football League New England Patriots. Ultimately, he took handoffs and caught passes from Tom Brady for eight of his nine-year football career, winning three Super Bowl rings. While very driven, Jerrod was not the size he is now, nor was he “vigilant at all, or athletic” enough for football to be more than a thing to keep him active.

The boy was always curious, looking up to the sky, wondering what’s in the galaxy. Jerrod vividly recalls going outside regularly with his older brother, lying in the grass, and staring at the stars – trying to figure out if any of them were satellites.

As he went through his teen years, it dawned on Jerrod that he might be able to parlay his work ethic and curiosity into a possible career.

Becoming a Military Man

Jerrod’s high school offered a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program for the Air Force. “You had to learn about space, you had to learn about satellites, and you fly a lot,” says Pass. In his 16-year-old mind, Jerrod was ready to join the Military. His mother disagreed, refusing to sign the waiver, but acquiesced a year later. A week after graduating high school, Jerrod was off to basic training.

With more silver-lined commentary about choosing to serve, Jerrod says, “It took me three years to believe I was actually in the Military. I was still this young kid from North Carolina. I had never left the state. I was scared. But it was also exciting.”

Because he handled a lot of home responsibilities throughout his childhood, Jerrod was a “perfectionist soldier” who made friends fast and got promoted often. He became a mentor to several soldiers much older than himself – exhibiting both innate and learned leadership skills, which came in handy when Pass was called into active duty.

“It was surreal, knowing that at any time, you can have people telling you, ‘Hey, this is my life.’ The moment you get placed in that position of responsibility, you know all the answers,” says Jerrod, donning a subtle smile, “even if you don’t.”

In a whirlwind military career, Pass completed basic training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina; deployed to South Korea for a year; came back stateside to Fort Eustis, Virginia, for four years; was sent to Iraq for nine months (where he earned one of his nine Army achievement medals for moving over 19.2 million dollars of equipment successfully, and once recovered a National Guard helicopter from engine failure and installed a new engine to continue its mission in Al Taqadum); got promoted to Staff Sergeant; and became an Army recruiter in South Hadley, Massachusetts, for three years.

Always adding that silver lining touch, Jerrod says, “It was very disturbing sometimes, seeing certain things. At the end of the day, being able to help other people made the journey worth it.”


Jerrod Pass Military Portraits

A Dream Falls, And Rises Again

While at the recruiting station in Massachusetts, Jerrod was planning the next stages of his career, but he wasn’t sure if they included college – not because he wasn’t prepared, but because he had gotten burned.

Jerrod was attending a university while in the Army, but inexplicably – and without forewarning to Jerrod – that institution was stripped of its accreditation. With the news, Jerrod lost all of his undergraduate degree credits.

Jerrod’s blue sky dreams came crashing to the ground. All of the effort he put into earning a degree, so he thought, was for naught. The process was so deflating that his confidence hit an all-time low. “I told myself I would never go back to school, that I don’t have the energy for it, or the aptitude… all that.”

Luckily, he was surrounded by fellow Army recruiters who were advancing their education. One recruiter was enrolled at Post University, and another recruiter was in the process of enrolling. “They told me that Post University was adaptive, that the school was amazing at time management, and that [Post] would take some of my military experience and turn it into college credits,” says Pass.

The last point was pivotal, as Jerrod could now see a way to get his confidence, and dreams, back on the rise.

“They told me that Post University was adaptive, that the school was amazing at time management, and that [Post] would take some of my military experience and turn it into college credits.”

The Dream Girl Arrives

Then, another life-changing moment, by way of a dating app, while Jerrod happened to be at recruiter training in Kentucky: He met Victoria.

“It was my first time on the app,” says Jerrod. He saw Victoria’s profile and asked her out, knowing that it might be fleeting because he had to return soon to Massachusetts. In a serendipitous twist, his return got pushed back – so Jerrod and Victoria went on a date… every single day, for several weeks straight. When Jerrod did have to head back north, Victoria – an active graduate school student – went with him, and they spent another week getting Jerrod settled. They’ve been inseparable since. Jerrod smiles at the memory, saying, “I was like, ‘Yeah, she’s going to be my wife… whether she knows it or not!’”

After talking about the moment he knew Victoria was “the one,” Jerrod’s entire six foot, 250 pound frame loudly giggles. He does this a lot. Victoria has been sitting nearby, providing moral support, and the couple is constantly smiling, laughing, smiling, and laughing. Like her husband, Victoria (now a mental health counselor and professional model) is bright, articulate, and very upbeat. However, she notes, “Yes, I’m a very positive person, but my energy level is only a six compared to Jerrod. His is a 10.”

Jerrod Pass with Wife Victoria

Personal Support Meets Online Learning

Ultimately, Jerrod was energized by, and enrolled at, Post University because of its military-focused academic programs. More specifically, he cites the “dedicated military advisors that knew my situation in the Military and knew how to work around it. They knew exactly how to provide guidance regarding the tuition assistance, what classes would be necessary to join for me going into senior leadership, and they guided me to the program that best met my career goals.” Through a Joint Services Transcript, Jerrod was able to transfer over 50 credits from his previous undergraduate studies to Post University.

In his first experiences as a Post University online student, Jerrod saw that what attracted him to the school was real – namely, the personalization and convenience of his learning journey. During these initial days, Jerrod made an acute observation, something he feels differentiated, and continues to distinguish, Post. “As an online student, the best thing you can have is support, and not only do they check in on you, but you can also check in on them.”

Jerrod thrived, he says, because he could easily immerse himself in the group posts and open forums of the University, each of which are based on high interactivity and transparency. “You can ask a question, and the faculty or staff that deals with online students can provide answers. There were so many different avenues of communication that it was just impossible for me not to reach Post University.”

Pass was also impressed by the infrastructure of the University’s online learning. “I never had the same professor twice, which says a lot, because there are schools that only train a handful of instructors to teach multiple online classes at once.” In reference to the past school he attended, Pass adds, “I would email professors at the previous college, and they would say, ‘Which class do you belong to again? I have five classes that I’m teaching, so I have no idea.’ This created agitation with students who felt they were not being heard as much as they should be.”

Jerrod Pass in his Living Room

In stark contrast, Jerrod’s Post University courses were taught by professors possessing specific expertise in online learning, using an established set of technology platforms, and including real-world experiences that matched his intended line of work.

“One instructor could walk everyone through the curriculum and say, ‘This is exactly how you would do it [in the professional world].’ He was working in the field in his personal life, so he was able to bring those examples.”

“They knew exactly how to provide guidance regarding the tuition assistance, what classes would be necessary to join for me going into senior leadership, and they guided me to the program that best met my career goals.”

Building An Online SGA 

As he neared the finish line of earning a Bachelor of Science Business Administration (BSBA) degree, Jerrod received an email. It was from Dr. Jeremi Bauer, Dean of The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business at Post University. Dr. Bauer was looking for an online student to help bridge the gap between On Campus and Online community conversations. 

Jerrod jumped at the chance to participate.

Once he did, Pass was invited to the campus for a number of thought-provoking and action-oriented sessions with a number of faculty and staff representatives. By the fourth or fifth discussion, an ambitious plan was percolating: To create an Online Student Government Association (SGA).

Based on research at the time, the Post University Online SGA is believed to be the first of its kind. “The idea was far-fetched, because of the amount of work it needed,” Jerrod says with retrospective pride. “We sat there, and we created it – terms and conditions, contracts, parliamentary, everything.”

The process took about six months.

When the Online SGA was ready to officially launch, the founding group nominated Jerrod to be the President. Within weeks, an advisory board and executive order committee were formed; a vice president, secretary, and treasurer was in place; and nearly 50 online students were meeting weekly to execute the launch plan and hold regular events.

Today, the Post University Online SGA is a voice and resource for the more than 20,000 online students across the globe.

Related Links

Explore additional content related to Jarrod’s story, and see how you can do anything with the support of Post University.

A Tailored MBA Program 

Given his military experience and Post University undergraduate degree (highlighted by a 3.82 Grade Point Average), Jerrod was offered a job at one of the most formidable companies in the aerospace industry. Pass accepted, entering the business in the shipping and receiving department and quickly moving to maintenance technician, but with eyes on a leadership position. 

The route to said position, Jerrod knew, was a Master’s degree. 

Jerrod returned to Post University, with the goal of earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Concentration in Project Management. Like his undergraduate experience, Pass found that Post provided him with personal support and individualized insights.

“The instructors at Post University made the [MBA coursework] interesting. They would tailor learnings based on what I was doing in my actual career. That really made it motivating.” 

Nine months after earning a Post University MBA (with a 3.91 Grade Point Average), Jerrod was offered the supervisory role of Health, Safety and Environmental Coordinator at the aerospace company. Now he was able to pick the brains of management. When Jerrod approached one divisional manager to discuss best practices and processes, the colleague divulged details of an integrated process that the business uses for all projects, analyses, and inspections. It was extremely familiar to Pass – because the company was using the Malcolm Baldrige process, built by the namesake of the Post University business school, and a process that Jerrod studied at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Pass exults that when the manager learned about the Baldrige connection, “he said, ‘Ok, this is for you. You deserve to be in this position. I want to see what you got.’”

What Jerrod has gotten is a load of responsibility in a highly coveted position and the industry he always wanted to be in.

“The instructors at Post University made the [MBA coursework] interesting. They would tailor learnings based on what I was doing in my actual career. That really made it motivating.”

An Emotional Commencement

Due to the COVID pandemic, by the time Pass could traverse the Commencement stage, he was doing so for both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. The dual celebration made for many memorable moments: Light and laughable ones, like when Jerrod put on the heap of tassels that signified his range of achievements, as well as proud ones, like when Jerrod got to hold the American flag in the processional.

Midway through the ceremony, the moment turned emotional.

With several thousand in the historic Palace Theater looking on – including his mother, brother, and wife – Jerrod heard from the stage a message spoken by United States Senator Richard Blumenthal: 

“I would like to ask all of the Veterans who are here today – the Veterans who are here graduating, the Veterans who are here to honor their loved ones, all of the Veterans… if you could please stand so that we can thank you for your service.” 

“Standing up was an honor not only to represent myself, but the Army and my country.”

At first reluctantly, Jerrod emerged from his seat. “Standing up was an honor not only to represent myself, but the Army and my country. It was acknowledgement that you’ve actually started something, and you completed it, you finished it.”

In the moment, Jerrod – always jovial but rarely one to cry – was welled up with tears.












Giving (And Taking) His Own Advice

In addition to the two siblings he grew up with, Jerrod has an 18-year old brother, Dominic. Pass loves when his teen brother turns to him for guidance. For Jerrod, it gives him the chance to provide life perspectives, and to heed his own wisdom. 

One of Jerrod’s sage recommendations is to find lots of things to love. He recently wrote and produced a full album of rap and hip hop songs. He runs a merchandise business with Victoria. He actively supports environmental and animal welfare causes. He loves to work out, hike, travel, and his latest hobby, fly airplanes.

The summation of his advice is something Jerrod placed on top of his Post University graduation cap. The design included a picture of a space shuttle preparing for launch, with its scaffolding lit by a full moon. Above the image, in orange letters, a proclamation:


The stars that he has been gazing at since boyhood still enthrall Jerrod, so much so that he plans to see them up close one day. 

Jerrod Pass showing   his Graduation Cap customization

“I want to go to space. There are a lot of things in space that have not been identified. I want to be that person to witness them, or find a solution to find them. I want to do everything, and I feel like my starting point at Post University is what led me to be so confident.”

With that, Jerrod smiles and steps away, his footsteps rumbling off into the distance of the enormous aerospace facility. This wonderful life Jerrod has created – his career, his wife, his hobbies, and the stars – awaits.

“I want to do everything, and I feel like my starting point at Post University is what led me to be so confident.”












Because support means everything, you’ll get all we’ve got. Find your program and start getting the support you need.

Get Started on Your Degree!

Step 1 of 2

Step 2 of 2

Do you have 15 or more credits from another institution?



Are you, your spouse or parent (if you are 24 or younger) associated with the U.S. Military?



Did you speak with a Post Representative on a Military Installation?



Have you spoken with a Post representative in person?



« Go Back
By clicking the button above, Post University has your consent to use automated technology to call, text and email you at the information above, including your wireless number, regarding educational services. It is not a requirement to provide this consent to receive education services.Standard text message & data rates may apply. Message frequency may vary. Please reply to the initial welcome text message HELP for help. Reply STOP to cancel. Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions