Contact: Lisa Sollie
(MERIDIAN) – Jason Frulla of Union has been named Outstanding undergraduate student for the Division of Business for fall 2020. He was one of five Mississippi State University students recognized at Meridian’s commencement ceremonies Tuesday, December 1 at the MSU Riley Center.
His educational journey began at the age of 40, after he remarried and moved to Union in 2012.
“I told my wife I regretted I never went to college, and that I was thinking about going back to school,” he said, “so she encouraged me to enroll at East Central Community College since we lived so close and she had lots of ties to the school.”
Frulla never had plans to earn more than an associate degree, but when he heard about the Partnership Pathways program that MSU-Meridian has with area community colleges, which assists students in developing a degree-specific course plan tailored to maximize their courses for transfer as well as financial aid opportunities for those concurrently enrolled at both institutions – he decided to continue his education at the Meridian campus and pursue an accounting degree.
However, in the middle of his junior year at State, he began to rethink that plan.
“I was starting to have second thoughts about wanting to be an accountant or CPA,” Frulla said, “so when Dr. Carlton Young, professor of healthcare administration at MSU-Meridian began talking to me about changing my major to healthcare administration, it made a lot of sense and so I switched. I’m glad I did and that he encouraged me to do it.”
After taking a lot of online classes while attending East Central, once he got to the Meridian campus Frulla was able to attend evening classes after he got off work. He also took several blended delivery classes and a few online when there was no other option available.
“The blended classes were fantastic, I really loved them,” he said. “If you couldn’t get to class you had the option of listening to a recorded lecture from an actual professor, so you didn’t miss any pertinent information, but you also had the flexibility of an online class because you could do it at your pace.”
Although scholarships helped defray the cost of earning his degree, they also helped him stay on track.
“If it wasn’t for the scholarships,” he said,” I probably wouldn’t have taken a full load each semester and it would have taken me longer to finish.”
For Frulla, who graduated with highest honors (summa cum laude) it is a huge relief to be done with school.
“I’ve got older kids scattered all over the place,” he noted. “One graduated in 2019 from MSU’s Starkville campus, one is a senior in high school, we have a foster child living with us and my stepdaughter is a freshman at East Central. It is really nice not to have to juggle a job, classes and a family of teenagers and young adults.”
Downsized from his job as a result of the pandemic, Frulla secured a two-year government contract working for the small business administration. Although the work isn’t in his field, he hopes that once the contract is up he will be able to find something in healthcare administration near his home.
“My wife and I are helping care for her elderly parents so we don’t have plans to go move out of the area. But I know if I need assistance locating a healthcare job, I can always contact Dr. Young. He’s been very helpful all along my journey.”