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Doneka Royster-BlumDoneka Royster-Blum, AAS ’19, BA ’21

Nothing inspires Doneka Royster-Blum, AAS ’19, BA ’21, more than learning. She is passionate about education – something her United States Navy colleagues can testify to.

“I want to spread the joy of taking courses and getting a degree,” said Royster-Blum. I enjoy sharing my experience and helping people get started on their higher education pursuits.”

Royster-Blum originally found Thomas Edison State University (TESU) through an online forum. “The fact that people spoke highly of TESU made me want to check into it more,” she said. Royster-Blum began her degree pursuit in 2015 but encountered unexpected events in life causing her to pause her education. She did not give up however, and returned in 2018 to complete an AAS degree and her BA degree in Environmental Studies.

“There are plenty of schools that say they are military friendly, but they don’t always live up to their claims. TESU made it very simple without any real hassle or push back,” she said.

Royster-Blum’s degrees enabled her to pursue two officer programs and ranked her number one amongst her peers two years in a row for performance. Completing her TESU degree provided a solid foundation for her work with the U.S. Navy and will hold her in good stead as she returns to the civilian sector.

Since graduation, Royster-Blum has been donating monthly to the TESU scholarship fund to support students. She has also become a TESU Genius, an Alumni Ambassador, and has supported the TESU Student Relief Fund by purchasing a Philanthropy Cord. She also participated in the TESU Virtual 5K.

“I believe in giving back. TESU has generous scholarship programs and I wanted to show support to a school that has supported me throughout the years. What better way to show that support than to give to support others?” noted Royster-Blum.

What inspires Royster-Blum the most about what she does is the people. “I am a people person and I live to help others strive for greatness.”

It has always been a dream of Royster-Blum’s to pursue a career in environmental science after her military career has concluded.

“Being a student at TESU has made my dreams come true one degree at time,” she exclaimed.