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Alumni in the News

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Saint Paul College alumni mak​e tremendous positive impacts throughout our communities every day. Click below to read inspirational stories from our alumni:

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1/3/2022 11:00 AMMichael Johnson 2Yes12/29/202112/29/2021 10:58 AMBeauty in the Eyes

The fantastic story of Tameka Jones, a 2003 Saint Paul College graduate featured on the HULU Photo of Tameka and KiJana Jonestelevision series The Small Business Revolution, continues to shine. Tameka’s story of service to others truly goes from inner beauty to outer beauty in many remarkable ways. An​d now, her story transcends generations as her daughter, KiJana Jones, joins forces with her mom to add a new service to their growing business, eyelash extensions.

Like her mother, KiJana Jones also attended Saint Paul College, completing the Cosmetology course Eyelash Extensions in November. A few weeks later, she passed the Minnesota State Board certification test to become a Certified Eyelash Technician. KiJana also enjoys helping people reach their full beauty, both inside and outside. With a certification in eye care, she now joins her mother’s business to expand their beautification services with their growing Saint Paul area clientele. Lip Esteem is overgrowing, and they are already looking to expand their office space while relocating to the Rondo community near the College.

Photo of  KiJana Jones

KiJana speaks with deep admiration for her mother’s love in letting her pave her path, and now that path coincides with her mother’s thriving business. Proud mother Tameka is excited to work alongside her daughter and shares how KiJana is funny, down to earth, and gets along with everyone. Together, they are a beautiful picture of bringing their passions forward in ways that serve others in many significant ways. Both mother and daughter are very grateful for the excellent education at Saint Paul College in this growing career field.

The Saint Paul College Cosmetology Department offers certificate programs for both Eyelash Extensions and Nail Care Technician. The 38-hour Eyelash Extensions course includes two days on campus and the rest online. Topics include preclinical instruction in the structure, function, and disorders of the eye and orbital area, eyelash growth cycle, contraindications, allergic reactions, infection control, eye shapes, and eyelash evaluation. 

Orenda Benajaminson, Eyelash Technician Instructor, shared these comments on her dedicated student:

Kijana was an eager student who was always willing to expand her knowledge on this very profitable eyelash technician industry. She was great to have in class!

Learn more about our Eyelash Extensions and Nail Care Technician certificate programs

12/21/2022 1:51 PMMichael Johnson 2Yes8/11/20218/11/2021 11:37 AMNyleve Eiram - a Rising Phoenix

photo of Nyleve Eiram at Graduation
Overcoming obstacles is difficult. Adversities can set us back, but learning how to overcome challenges in our life makes us better, a rising phoenix. If you are looking for a model student who has overcome much, look no further than the inspirational story of Nyleve Eiram – a survivor of brain cancer – and someone who truly thrives in overcoming any obstacles in her path!

After being told by her birth mother that "she would never make it," Nyleve took on this challenge by living with a motto of "I can do it" about any obstacles that would come her way. Book Cover: How I Survived A Brain TumorGrowing up with multiple disabilities, an additional challenge of a brain cancer diagnosis gave her more fuel to overcome the odds with uncanny persistence and a steadfast belief that her purpose in life was to encourage and inspire others to be their best. In addition to "I can do it," she added, "If I can beat a brain tumor, what makes you think I'm going to let life beat me?" to her belief system.

With a desire to overcome these obstacles, Nyleve received her AA degree in Communications from Saint Paul College to transfer into the University of Minnesota Communications program. She plans on studying Communications with an emphasis on Journalism, Mass Communications, and Public Speaking and eventually wants to pursue a Doctorate in the field.Photo of Nyleve Eiram at University of Minnesota In addition to these ambitious goals, Nyleve has found the time to write three books: "How I Survived A Brain Tumor" and two volumes of poetry. In addition to receiving tremendous support and encouragement from many at Saint Paul College, Jamela Pettiford, Founder of Power of Purpose, serves as her mentor.

A Rising Phoenix is a symbolic rebirth that gives hope, renewal, and progress. Nyleve Eiram is the face of a rising phoenix and an inspiration to many!

An inspiration to others, The Saint Paul College Foundation was honored to have Nyleve share her story at their Annual Gala. 



8/31/2021 12:03 PMMichael Johnson 2Yes5/27/20215/27/2021 12:52 PMEsthetics Alum to be featured on HULU showTameka Jones

Tameka Jones.jpgTameka Jones, a 2003 Saint Paul College graduate, will be featured on the HULU television series The Small Business Revolution, Season 6. The show will follow Tameka on her journey as a small business owner who launched her lipstick line Lip Esteem and reemerged her girls' group LADY amid the COVID pandemic and civil unrest in the Twin Cities. Her story of service to others truly goes from inner beauty to outer beauty in many remarkable ways.

At a difficult time in her life, Tameka sought meaning and purpose. Tameka called Saint Paul College right as an Esthetics course was about to start. On government assistance and with just $25 in her pocket, college didn't seem possible. When she heard the application cost was just $20 (applications are now free at Saint Paul College), she applied immediately. That investment paid off as she found a new focus for her life. Tameka described her teachers as very demanding, but that was precisely the kick-start needed to learn her craft well. After graduation, with a passion for helping women and girls see their inner beauty through her work in makeup, she established LADY (Leader Achiever Determined Youth) as a mentoring group to help girls' grades 5-12 improve their self-esteem.Tameka SPC Group

Last year, following a job furlough due to COVID, she started her makeup brand using plant-based, cruelty-free, gluten-free, clean, and environmentally safe products. This business grew, and she continued to take entrepreneur classes when noticed by Deluxe Corporation. With a budget of $500,000, Deluxe Corporation and the Small Business Revolution help fund six small businesses and their respective communities with the support they need to scale up their businesses. The show will demonstrate how small companies can succeed in today's challenging climate. The Small Business Revolution Season 6 will begin airing on the HULU network this fall.

Tameka HULU PhotoShoot.jpg

Tameka now serves as a role model for many women in the beauty and business world. She owes much of her success to the demanding, loving, caring education she received at Saint Paul College, which gave her the confidence and determination needed to make the most of herself. As a result of her impactful education, she encourages many others to be the best they can be.

Read more about Tameka's story in Twin Cities Business and the Star Tribune. Photos courtesy of Tameka Jones.

9/13/2021 3:42 PMMichael JohnsonYes5/10/20215/3/2021 2:00 PMNursing Assistant Alum makes Life-Saving Trips while serving her Country

Captain & Crew.jpg Courtesy Captain Natasha Cardinal

Natasha Cardinal is living her dream while admirably serving others. After taking a health care professional introductory course at Saint Paul College while still in High School, she realized her passion was health care. She took her Certified Nursing Assistant coursework at the college then began working at Healtheast (now Fairview) for 14 years while gaining invaluable experience in the medical field. She then made a life-changing decision to take this passion literally around the world as she joined the Air Force to serve as a Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCAT) Nursing Specialist.

Captain Natasha Cardinal now serves with the 18th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron, based at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. This unit flies up to six patients at a time, including up to three critical patients, from the point of injury to higher care medical facilities in the US. Patient conditions range from trauma such as burns, IED blasts, multiple traumatic 

Cpt Life Saving Move.jpgCourtesy Captain Natasha Cardinal

injuries, and amputations to more medical, non-trauma patients such as those with more severe COVID conditions, patients on a ventilator, septic shock, or other multisystem organ failures. Captain Cardinal provides en route nursing care while the CCAT team also includes a Respiratory Therapist and a Medical Doctor specializing in critical care, emergency medicine, or anesthesia who provide life-sustaining services during long transports. Captain Cardinal says her work is exhausting, but she loves it as it gives her a strong sense of purpose. “I feel like I am truly making a difference in the world," says Captain Cardinal.

Fast-forward 20 years since her graduation at Saint Paul College, another Cardinal family member is ready to follow the same nursing care steps by beginning their training at Saint Paul College. Natasha's niece says she wants to follow her aunt's actions when she turns 16 next year and is eligible to enroll in the same health care professional introductory course. Not only are our nursing assistant alumni making life-saving impacts across the world, they even carry this passion through their generations! Learn more about our Nursing Assistant Program.

Read more about these life saving missions.

On a related note, Saint Paul College Leadership recently established a Veterans Committee to continue working with the State of Minnesota to become a Yellow Ribbon College with hopes of attaining that designation later this year.

8/31/2021 9:04 AMMichael Johnson 2Yes4/23/20213/22/2021 11:06 AMLeadership in action featured during Alumni Panel Discussion

College is about learning. College is about growing. Eventually, the primary purpose of college is to find your true calling, learn vital skills, and identify ways to impact others positively. Saint Paul College recently held a leadership panel discussion where alumni shared how they paved their way to success and overcame numerous obstacles to inspire others.

This Zoom panel alumni discussion featured an alumni moderator and four panelists sharing critical points on how Saint Paul College prepared them for success in their post-college ventures. These next-step journeys included transferring to another college, starting entry-level positions, entering the professional field in managerial positions, and owning a business. We received overwhelmingly positive comments from student attendees, and here are a few of the highlights of the discussion:

  • Taking risks can benefit you in the future, even if it's hard now;
  • Most students struggle at some point, so do not be afraid to ask for help; faculty is expecting to hear from you;
  • Never give up and always try your best;
  • Fight your fear and keep going;
  • Explore new things out of your comfort zone; and
  • Every resource needed to be successful is available at Saint Paul College!

Making a difference in our community is leadership in action, and a vital component of the education students receive at Saint Paul College!​​

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