Jim Gaskin

Jim Gaskin portrait
Photo by Jonah Holland

Jim Gaskin has served Mississippi State University as part of the Athletic Facilities Management team for over a decade. He knows all too well that when something goes wrong, you need the right tools to get the job done. The same was true when Gaskin decided to earn his degree through MS State Online.

For Gaskin, completing his degree was a bucket list goal he wanted to reach by the time he turned 50. He also wanted to prove to himself that he could do it. The online platform allowed him to fulfill this goal while also keeping a healthy work-life balance.

As an MSU student in the early ’90s, Gaskin experienced the difficulties of juggling full-time work with studies. Reflecting on those days, he recalled, “I worked all night, so it was a hard journey then.”

Despite the challenges, he eventually earned his HVAC certificate and ran his own business for over 10 years before joining the MSU athletics department staff.

Returning to school in 2021, Gaskin found new tools available now made the journey to degree completion easier and catered to his preferred learning style.

“I could do everything with Audible (the online audiobook service),” he said. “So, when I drove to work, I listened to the book.”

In addition to utilizing audiobooks, Gaskin made use of talk-to-text technology to streamline his assignments and paper-writing process.

Although his role with the university led to some late nights, he said, “During games, I would actually—if we got in a slow point—I would go get my books out and get on my computer and study.”

Gaskin is now part of a family of MSU graduates. His wife, Dawn, is a graduate of the College of Education. A father of two, Gaskin and his oldest son were in college at the same time. His son completed his degree in May 2023, while Jim graduated in December with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree from MSU’s new College of Professional and Continuing Studies.

“It was a rewarding feeling to get my degree and use this platform to take the BAS degree online,” he said.

Gaskin knows earning his degree now will enable him to seize additional career opportunities if they arise.

Since his graduation, Gaskin also has considered enrolling in additional classes to learn more about the things he gained an interest in, such as geosciences and meteorology.