Aurora at large City Council Member will fulfill a promise she made to her father when she graduates from CCA in 2 weeks.

Article with Audio Player

Listen to this article:

Danielle Jurinsky made a commitment to her father when she promised him she would earn her college degree. This May, she will do just that as she graduates with a general studies degree, and serves as a featured speaker at the Community College of Aurora’s commencement ceremony on May 4th.

On its own, that accomplishment is something to be proud of. She will fulfill a dream of earning a degree that shows her tenacity and drive to better herself through education. It’s important to grasp the full scope of Jurinsky’s accomplishments to understand why her college degree will fill a gap in her personal fulfillment, but not her resume. 

Jurinsky has arguably done it all. Before the age of 40, she is a veteran of the United States Air Force, a successful business owner, an Aurora City Council member, and as a cherry on top, she’s also a mom. 

The college degree was the only missing piece to her otherwise impressive puzzle. Thanks to a chance encounter with a member of CCA’s leadership team at a local gala, Jurisnky learned of a program that could help fast-track her to her goal of earning a degree. By earning Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) credit for her work and life experience, it drastically cut down the time she needed to spend in college classrooms to earn her degree. 

PLA credit is awarded to individuals based on experience such as service in government or industry, civic or community work, and many other qualifying areas. This program, it turned out, was the perfect opportunity for someone like Jurinsky.  

Raised by her single father, she says her family didn’t have a lot of money saved up for college. She explored affordable options after high school, leading to her taking classes at CCA. But her circumstances changed, and she had to put college on the back burner. 

“I knew I needed some discipline in my life and so I decided to join the military,” she says. Her father, a retired U.S. Marine, persuaded her to not enlist in the Marines, so she opted for the Air Force instead. “The first six years of my military career was spent as a military police officer, and the last three years I was in munitions, so essentially building bombs.”

Fast-forward, and Jurinsky spent a total nine years serving in the military. With a brief stint back in Colorado, she once again tried her hand at college by enrolling in a few classes at CCA. But the call of duty put her military priorities back at the center of her focus. 

“I was exhausted. I just wasn’t there. At one point, I tried to do another semester, and used my G.I Bill,” she says. “So again, I just had to drop that next semester, and that’s when I started kind of realizing what I signed up for.”

When her deployments began to settle down, and her military service came to an end, she opted for another career path. She set her sights on becoming a business owner, opening and owning several bars from 2013,



when she left the military, until 2023, two years after she was elected to Aurora’s City Council, where she now serves on multiple committees. 

“I ran for city council, and I won, and that creates a whole new time commitment.”

At this point, Jurinsky was set. She had a fulfilling life with multiple accomplishments, financial stability, and a long and impressive resume. But she wasn’t going to forget the promise that she made to her dad all those years ago. 

“I made my dad a promise that I would get a college degree. I promised him I would figure out how to get my own money for college, so all of that kind of came back full circle after I sold these two bars,” she says. “You know, I’m a prominent member of the community and such, but I’m going to prioritize my education and finish what I started.”

This time, Jurinsky enrolled in the college with the tenacity and dedication to finish. She bought the books and finally set the stage to that last piece of her puzzle. Thanks to the PLA credits, she was able to utilize her military career, her public service and her prior CCA credits to finish her degree last December. 

“I got a call that if I take one math class, and one government class, I can graduate with a degree from CCA. So I said, I’m in, sign me up!”

She finally got to fulfill her promise, telling her dad the amazing news over the phone. “I thought my dad was going to start crying. He didn’t believe me at first!”

Her success ripples throughout her entire family, as she is the only person on her mother’s side of the family to earn any type of degree, and the first woman to do so on her father’s side.

She is now set to take the stage on May 4, at CCA’s commencement ceremony where she will deliver an address to her fellow graduates. 

As she sat in her classes as an adult-learner, she joined in an ice breaking activity with her fellow students where each person introduced themselves, and shared how they planned on using their degree. She says it was a strange feeling to tell them that she didn’t plan on using it for her career, but instead for her own fulfillment. But she also says she shares that experience with others as a way to remind them that you don’t ever have to give up on the promises you set for yourself. 

“I couldn’t believe I was told I could actually get a degree. You don’t ever have to give up what your original goals were in life. You can always go back to whatever it is.”

You can fulfill your own promises, and finish what you started by enrolling in CCA today! Click HERE for information about the steps you can take to earn your degree or certificate.