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Married graduates earn degrees from IU Kokomo, Purdue

May 7, 2015
KOKOMO, Ind. —Myles and Jaina Hattabaugh may attend rival universities, but theirs is a house united, not divided.

Both will participate in their Commencement ceremonies on Tuesday, May 12. Jaina, a health sciences major, will graduate from Indiana University Kokomo, while Myles, a computer information technology major, graduates from the Purdue College of Technology.

Both agree the IU and Purdue rivalry isn’t felt in their home.

“He’s a closet IU fan,” Jaina said, laughing, while Myles noted, “She doesn’t care enough about team sports for that to matter.”

They’ve been college students their entire married life, and look forward to what comes next — a move to North Carolina, where she plans to earn a master’s degree, and he has a job as an IT business analyst at Lowe’s corporate headquarters. Being students together has been a good start to their marriage, according to Jaina.

“We’ve both worked and been in school, but the breaks between semesters meant we could travel extensively,” she said. “It’s been exciting earning our degrees together.”

They met through Facebook eight years ago, because of mutual friends. She was a freshman at Tri-Central High School, Sharpsville, while he was a junior at Kokomo’s Taylor High School.

He first enrolled at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, to study psychology, but later changed his major and transferred to Kokomo. A year after Jaina graduated from high school, they got married.

“We’d already been together for so long, we just felt like it was time,” Jaina said.

Myles has worked at Chrysler as a data analyst since shortly before they were married, while she has worked at the Cole Fitness Center, in addition to a job editing photos for a local photographer.

Myles said his Chrysler job allowed him to immediately apply what he was learning in the classroom to real life.

“What I’ve learned in my classes, and at Chrysler, helped confirm my career choice,” he said. “It’s great to have that real world experience enhancing what we’re doing in the classroom.”

As graduation drew closer, Myles began interviewing for jobs, while Jaina applied to master’s programs near where he interviewed. She earned admission to the master’s degree program in public health at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, while he accepted the job at Lowe’s, about 20 minutes from the university.

She hopes to work with a government program to promote healthy weight after she completes her graduate degree.

“I love being a health advocate,” she said. “I love helping others achieve optimal health.”

She flourished in IU Kokomo’s health sciences program, earning the outstanding student award and the community service award. She also co-founded the Ribbon Warriors, a student organization that provides health education on campus.

She is happy they are able to graduate on the same day, and proud of her husband’s achievement.

“I’m glad he’s graduating with a degree he loves,” she said. “I’m especially proud he’s done it while working almost full time. We’re looking forward to the next chapter in our lives.”

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 05/07/2015