Jessica Marie Rizzo

Name: Jessica Rizzo

Employer: H&R Block

Client Service Leader and Manager, Overcomes Cancer While A Student

Jessica Marie Rizzo approaches life with a positive attitude. Even a diagnosis of breast cancer did not slow her down. “I realized it was time to make a change to provide for my son,” she says. “I enrolled at Brown Mackie College ― Ft. Wayne while I was still taking chemotherapy.” She set her sights on two degree programs and got to work, even while she underwent surgery on nine separate occasions. “I owe a great debt of gratitude to the staff and all of my instructors, who worked with my surgery schedules and allowed me to take breaks between classes for recovery,” she adds.

Her fortitude paid off in 2015, when Jessica graduated from Brown Mackie College ― Ft. Wayne and secured two degrees: an Associate of Science degree in Business Management, and an Associate of Science in Accounting Technology. She began her new professional career at H&R Block in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, where she holds the position of client service leader and manager.

Jessica is responsible for managing and running the office. She prepares taxes for clients, and oversees a staff of tax preparers. “I look over returns done by my tax professionals, and handle any disgruntled clients and ensure their patronage. You have to handle situations with professionalism and compassion,” she says.  “I am responsible for the marketing of my own office as well.” Jessica reaches out to area businesses, creating partnerships and offering her service of conducting ‘tax talks’ with their employees.

“It is not an easy job, but it is rewarding,” she says. She learned the company procedures and became proficient in problem-solving techniques. “Earning the trust of my employees was very important,” says Jessica. “It was an amazing feeling once I felt capable of answering questions and solving issues.”

She has created a sense of family in the office among her staff and clients. “I take the time to educate clients on the inner workings of a return. When they leave the office, they understand the service I have provided,” Jessica says. Ever-changing tax laws create the need for ongoing training and study.

In her spare time, Jessica volunteers her talents to Making Strides in Ft. Wayne, an organization that raises funds to help fight breast cancer. “Also, I have served as a cancer ambassador at many functions for James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville, Kentucky, including appearing on billboards and in television commercials to raise awareness,” she says.

Jessica credits Brown Mackie College ― Ft. Wayne for creating a bright future. “Everything I have learned about my career, they taught me,” she says. “The professors are knowledgeable and they have work experience in the subjects they teach. That made a huge difference in my success. Staff and instructors are always willing to go above and beyond to help each and every student succeed.”

Jessica plans to continue her education with a bachelor’s degree program to become a certified public accountant (CPA). She has her eye on a master’s degree, as well. “Education saved my life,” she says. “I’m willing to fight for what I deserve.”

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options are subject to change. Brown Mackie College – Ft. Wayne. 3000 East Coliseum Boulevard, Ft. Wayne, IN 46805 ©2015 Brown Mackie College. Our email address is

See Gainful Employment - Brown Mackie College for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info/

Erin McCaslin

Name: Erin McCaslin

Employer: The Heights, Genesis Healthcare

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Caring for Patients

Erin McCaslin took it upon herself to care for her grandmother when she needed help at home. She enjoys interacting with others and finds satisfaction in helping people when they are sick. Her passion led her to spend a few years working in a hospital transporting patients. As she explored the health care environment, where she was exposed to the many different types of work the field offered.

“I looked at the different types of work I could go into, and I came to the conclusion that occupational therapy was a perfect fit for me,” she says. Despite a learning disability, Erin enrolled at Brown Mackie College ― Akron, determined to work through the difficulties. “I knew I had a learning disability, but with further testing, I received a new diagnosis and had to adapt to those challenges to get through school,” she says.

Erin excelled in her courses, and was inducted into the Alpha Beta Kappa National Honor Society. She volunteered to tutor other students in the program and completed community service work in association with the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) club.

She graduated from Brown Mackie College ― Akron in 2015, earning an Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant. Her next step was to pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam for certification. Erin now works at The Heights, Genesis Healthcare in Broadview Heights, Ohio as a certified occupational therapy assistant.

Erin looks forward to going to work each day. Every morning she reviews her caseload for the day and visits each patient to discuss the upcoming treatment session. She documents the work completed for each patient and lets other staff members know the status of each patient.

“I love when one of my patients is able to do something that they have been working on for some time. Their excitement is amazing,” says Erin. “I enjoy helping people get back to being able to do things for themselves and see them become more independent.”

Erin stays in touch with the people at Brown Mackie College ― Akron. “I loved how much the instructors interacted with me during my coursework, and even after I was finished with the classes. Everyone was so supportive of me throughout my education and even today, being out of school,” she says.

The hands-on lab work stands out as being one of the most enjoyable aspects of her education. “I learned the most from all of our time in the labs or practicing on each other,” Erin says.  “My fieldwork experience also really prepared me for the job I have today.”

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options are subject to change. Brown Mackie College – Akron. 755 White Pond Drive, Suite 101, Akron, OH 44320 ©2015 Brown Mackie College. Our email address is

See  for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info/