The Jackson sisters are moving forward — together 

Chrishana and Chrishá Jackson stand next to each other, smiling and holding their degrees at graduation.

Twin sisters Chrishana (left) and Chrishá (right) earned their master’s degrees in health care administration, while working at the same hospital and living three minutes apart. (Purdue University photo/Kelsey Lefever)

Discover Chrishana and Chrishá’s journey earning their online master’s degrees in health care administration from Purdue Global

Twin sisters Chrishana and Chrishá Jackson do everything together. They both graduated with their bachelor’s degrees in exercise science in 2021, work at the same hospital and even live three minutes apart. 

“We try to separate and then we come right back together,” Chrishá says. 

“The universe just pulls us back together,” Chrishana adds in agreement. 

Their latest endeavor as a dynamic duo: earning their master’s degrees in health care administration from Purdue Global. 

The journey back to school together 

Both Chrishana and Chrishá have been athletes since they were young, and their desire to work in health care extends all the way back to their youth sports days. Only it wasn’t the love for the game but the care they received after being injured that inspired them. 

Chrishana separated her shoulder when she was young and had to undergo physical therapy to recover. “I always liked the feeling I got when I left a physical therapy session. Feeling normal again. Feeling myself. Feeling relief. I could see myself helping people get back to feeling like themselves,” she says. 

After that, she was on a mission to become a physical therapist. 

Chrishá found her passion in a similar fashion.

Chrishana Jackson with her degree.

(The Purdue Global program) has honestly changed my life. 

Chrishana Jackson  MS health care administration ’24, Purdue Global 

“We’re twins, so our story is kind of similar,” she says. Rather than becoming a physical therapist like her sister, Chrishá wanted to be an athletic trainer ever since observing how a trainer tended to an injury she suffered playing basketball. 

“From the time she ran out on the court to come help me, I thought, ‘I love her job; I want to do that,’” she says. “I would love to help other people prevent injury. That’s the athletic trainer’s job.”  

When they entered Saint Peter’s University together to pursue their undergraduate degrees, their plans were set: Chrishana was to become a physical therapist and Chrishá an athletic trainer. But as time passed, their lives went in different directions. 

Chrishá’s life changed when she welcomed her son, Amari, during her sophomore year at Saint Peter’s. “I felt like I was on the right path, but then I got pregnant, I had a baby and I had to change course,” she says. Instead of attending graduate school, she decided to head straight into a career. 

When Amari was 18 months old, he was diagnosed with a speech delay. After graduating in 2021, the same year as Chrishana, Chrishá decided to start working at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Outside of her career at the hospital, she had to take Amari to speech and occupational therapy. As money became a larger factor, Chrishá wondered if getting her master’s and becoming an athletic trainer would ease the financial burden somewhat. Little did she know that her sister was discovering the answer. 

At the time Chrishana earned her undergraduate degree in 2021, she was about four months pregnant. “I always wanted to go to graduate school right after graduating. I didn’t want to take a hiatus, but I had to because I was about to have a baby,” she says. 

The physical therapist she interned with as an undergrad told her it would be difficult to pursue physical therapy with a newborn at home. So instead, she pivoted and started working as a patient coordinator at Mount Sinai, the same hospital where her sister was a float pool nurse. “I liked working there and working in health care,” Chrishana says. “So I thought I should go back to school and expand on what I was doing.” She decided to pursue an online degree since she wouldn’t be able to attend in-person classes while caring for a newborn. 

Chrishana came across Purdue Global and filled out the online form to request an information session. As Chrishana was driving home from the beach, she got a call from a Purdue Global advisor, Kim Zajan. “I wasn’t going to answer, but then I realized where the area code was from and thought that might be somebody from the school,” she says. After a long conversation with Kim, she filled out an application that night and got in.  

Chrishana then told Chrishá about the master’s in health care administration program. She explained that they could go back to school together, and since they both had young sons, they could support each other through it all. Since it is an online program, they were able to keep their jobs at the hospital and squeeze in study time after the kids went to bed, when they got a babysitter or during breaks at work. 

“I trusted Chrishana,” Chrishá says, and she’s so thankful she did.

I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world besides with her (Chrishá) walking across the stage.

Chrishana Jackson
MS health care administration ’24, Purdue Global 

Life-changing degrees 

The sisters are excited for the opportunities that their master’s degrees present in their careers at the hospital. 

Chrishá floats between departments to provide assistance wherever it is needed. When she worked in neurosurgery, she found herself acting as the administrative assistant to the surgeon. This was her first taste of the administration aspect of health care before going back for her master’s. While in the master’s program, she frequently experienced situations where the curriculum came in handy.  

“I see all the time what I’m learning in school reflected at work. I always think, ‘My professor just went over this.’ If I find myself in certain situations, I know now how I should handle them,” she says.  

She envisions new opportunities because of the degree, and she even has a promotion in the works. “I do want to move up, so hopefully with the degree, I’ll have the position soon. Fingers crossed,” she says. 

Meanwhile, Chrishana’s master’s degree helped her land a position as administration secretary for the transplant department. “Everything I’ve learned during the master’s program helped me transition from patient coordinator to administration secretary,” she says. “The program prepared me and held my hand as I made the transition.” 

In addition to helping the sisters advance in their health care careers, their journey toward completing their master’s degrees taught them a lot about themselves. 

Chrishana faced a big obstacle while attending Purdue Global, becoming pregnant with her second son, Majesty, in the final semester of her master’s program. She juggled commuting from New Jersey to New York for work, taking care of her toddler Pharaoh, and scheduling prenatal appointments after hours or on weekends. After she gave birth, she found it difficult to not use her spare time to catch up on sleep but stayed committed to finishing her assignments. 

“Completing the program brought a lot of things full circle for me,” Chrishana says. “I am very grateful that I have something to show my kids, as they were my biggest motivators and a part of this journey with me.” 

Chrishana notices how the encouragement she received and the skills she’s gained have translated in both her professional and personal life. She learned how to push past her limits, act as a team player and manage her time — skills she uses in her role at the hospital and at home with her two boys. 

Chrishá also noticed a change in herself while completing her master’s degree. She says her self-esteem and confidence increased while encountering stressful situations at school and succeeding. She became more confident at work, in her relationship and with her family. 

“It has a very positive effect on my life overall. When you have good self-esteem, it makes things so much easier and better for you,” Chrishá says. “So thank you to Purdue Global.” 

As their Purdue Global journey comes to a close, Chrishana reflects on the day she pulled over to speak to a Purdue Global advisor while driving home from the beach.  

“I’m really happy I listened to Kim and sat on the phone with her,” says Chrishana, who remains in touch with Kim — the same advisor who helped her navigate school while pregnant with her second son.  

“I told her I really appreciate that she called me that day and convinced me to join the Purdue Global program,” she says. “Because it has honestly changed my life.” 

The love and support of family 

The strong bond and passion for health care in the Jackson family goes beyond the twin sisters.  

The twins, their parents and their siblings are all working within the industry to improve others’ lives. While Chrishá and Chrishana work in administration, their mom and their older sister work in home health care. Their younger sister is a phlebotomist, and their dad is an IT engineer and project manager.  

They even have a big family dream. “Eventually, if we could all get along,” Chrishá says, giggling with her sister, “we could run our own practice. Combine all our skills and knowledge.” 

While the whole family supports the twins’ journey, there is one person who stands out. Their father, Chris Jackson, traveled a similar path to that of Chrishana and Chrishá. 

At around the same age that the Jackson sisters had their sons, he became a young parent to Chrishana and Chrishá. And as a young adult, he had the same passion for education, graduating at 25 with his online master’s, the same age as Chrishana and Chrishá when they walked across the stage together to earn their online master’s degrees.

Chrishana and Chrishá Jackson in their graduation caps and gowns with their father standing between them.
Chrishana and Chrishá Jackson pose with their dad, Chris Jackson, who has been their biggest supporter throughout their educational journey. (Photo provided)

“Our dad has been our biggest supporter. He’s always laid out that guidance for us,” Chrishá says. “He tells us all the time that our biggest supporter will always be him. Nobody is prouder of us than he is. With his guidance and support, Chrishana and I are going to go far. Very far.” 

Ahead of their May graduation ceremony, the sisters were giddy just thinking about checking in to their hotels, getting ready and finally walking across the stage. “Seeing my dad and my family, I don’t know if I’m going to cry or be happy,” says Chrishá, overwhelmed with emotion. 

Even though these aren’t their first degrees, Chrishá recognizes how monumental it is to earn a master’s degree. During her undergraduate graduation ceremony, she had the feeling of “I did it.” But after years of studying while working at the hospital and raising her son, she says a new feeling accompanies her latest graduation.  

“‘I made it.’ I feel like between undergrad and now, I went through a lot, and it feels like I made it,” Chrishá says. “That’s how I want to feel when I walk across that stage.” 

Chrishana echoes those same feelings but is most grateful she has had her sister by her side through it all.  

“That’s my best friend. We do everything together, and I wouldn’t be able to see myself do it without her,” Chrishana says. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world besides with her walking across the stage.” 

“We made it,” Chrishá says.