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New STEM Masters Programs

Anderson University provides affordable and easy access to innovative, I-17 approved and STEM-focused programs designed specifically for international students.

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Departments: Department of Behavioral Science

Most folks are familiar with the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses,” but here’s a story about a family whom you might say raised the bar just a bit. It’s not about status; it’s more about the special bond this close-knit family has with one another.

Brenda Jones, who is an Anderson native, got married and moved with her husband David to the Columbia, South Carolina area.

Then Brenda experienced something that experts say happens to about one mother in a thousand. Her first children were triplets—Allison, Emily and Jessica. Two years later, she had twins—Stephanie and Davidson.

Homeschooled at their home in Lexington, South Carolina, the Jones siblings grew up developing strong bonds with each other—living, learning, worshiping and playing together, riding bicycles up and down the street and around their cul-de-sac, exploring a pond behind the house, playing games or singing together. 

“It seems like we did everything together, and part of it was because we were so close in age,” Emily said. “We pretty much did everything together, whether that was sports, sleepovers or things like that.”

When the triplets were ready for college, the transition from a homeschool environment to Anderson University just felt right.

Each of the Jones siblings chose a different academic path at Anderson University. Emily is a Worship Leadership major, Jessica is a Graphic Design major and Allison is a double major in Biblical Studies and Creative Writing and also an honors student. Stephanie is a Human Development and Family Studies major and Davidson is a Biology major.

Allison remembers visiting her grandparents—Brenda’s parents—who live in the Anderson area, and how they would encourage their grandkids, “Whenever y’all get ready to come to college you can come here and be right down the road.” 

“Emily, Jessica and I have always joked about coming to college together,” Allison said. “Being triplets, we thought it would be cool if we could stay together, but we also didn’t really expect it to happen. After the tour, all three of us loved it.” 

Allison came to Anderson University originally as an education major, but she sensed the Lord’s leading into Biblical Studies. Outside of her classes, she works with children’s ministry at Mosaic Church and runs the sound board and PowerPoint in services. After she graduates in May, she plans to stay at Anderson and work on her Master of Divinity and continue doing part-time ministry at Mosaic and possibly do some part time teaching.

When Emily was considering college degree programs that would help her fulfill her calling into music ministry, she was pleasantly surprised at the Worship Leadership degree program Anderson University offered. As part of her program, she’s part of one of the worship bands that lead musical worship at Anderson University’s chapels and a BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries) band. Emily also feels blessed that she’s had internships at Hope Fellowship, NewSpring and Brookwood churches, and works backstage or running sound for events in Henderson Auditorium.

“I’ve been to NewSpring and Hope Fellowship the most often and I love the people and the teaching,” Emily said.

Jessica enjoys doing graphic design and also photography. 

“I think over the semesters I’ve grown connecting with my professors and classmates. The graphic design professors put time into you and we’re a small enough cohort in graphic design for my grade level that they’re able to meet with each of us to make sure we’re understanding the materials,” Jessica said. 

When they reached college age, Stephanie and Davidson came to Anderson as well.

Stephanie recalls, “I came to Anderson to visit my siblings and I really enjoyed the campus. When I came to AU, I really just felt peace about it, and I was trying to not follow in my siblings’ footsteps because I like being my own person.” 

When she’s not in class, Stephanie is involved in BCM or cheering on the Trojan athletic teams as a cheerleader. She also works with her sister Allison in the campus post office.

Davidson has a fascination with animals and nature and enjoys studying ecology. He likes to hike whenever he gets the chance and loves that the mountains are just a short drive away from the Anderson University campus.

“I’ll go up there and get some solitude. Honestly, I find it a good way, especially when I’m by myself in nature, just to find a way to connect with the Holy Spirit and meditate. I would love to go into animal science and do kind of a wildlife biology type of aspect, just study animals out in the wild,” he said. “I used to go camping a good bit with my dad—that’s a lot of fond memories I had growing up.”

Brenda recently returned to the Anderson area and now enjoys being close to her children and other family members. When she’s not connecting with family, Brenda works from her home managing rental properties. She also attends Capstone Church with some of the children.

“Right before the twins started their senior year of high school, that was when David passed away, so I ended up coming up here a good bit with the twins to be closer to my parents, just be closer to the girls to try to help all the kids process through all of this,” Brenda said. “I love to go over to campus and get lunch with the kids or get a cup of coffee. I go there weekly and pray, just walk around the campus and pray over different buildings or whatever the Lord lays on my heart to pray for at the time. I love to go to the chapel services.” 

“I think it’s been really good both for her and for us,” Emily said. “We are thankful that she’s close by and that she’s close to family too, because I think she’d worry about us and we would worry about her being so far away. I think we’re all really thankful that we’re here together.”

“We’re able to meet together, even if it’s just once a week and just hang out. I think that’s something really that not a lot of families get to do, so I’ve been really thankful for that,” Jessica said.

Brenda says of her husband David, “He was a great dad and he would be so proud of how the kids have handled all the changes. Losing him so early was/is very hard, but God has truly walked with us through it all and led us to where we are now.”