man teaching students
Augusta University alumnus Jacob Boland teaches at the Jessye Norman School of the Arts.

Augusta University alumnus makes an impact, from Army life to art education

Jacob Boland is a self-proclaimed Army brat. Boland’s dad served 20 years before retiring in Augusta in 2003, so Boland followed in his footsteps, spending four years in the Army.

He was a medic and spent time in Europe and Asia. Mostly, he was stateside at Fort Benning in Georgia, Fort Rucker in Alabama and Fort Knox in Tennessee. From being an X-ray technician to helping give vaccines to soldiers and completing suture work, Boland got a good taste of medic life.

“With being a medic in the Army, they just put you in any position they needed you in,” said Boland. “Sometimes I did X-ray. I also did a lot of in-processing, doing the varicella shots; I was the one who filled up the vial or filled up the needles. Then I did some suture work and even some mental health kind of stuff.”

While he wasn’t formally trained for that kind of work, the Army gave him the lessons he needed to perform his duties.

Boland was always interested in the field of communications, and at age 26, following his days serving the country, he used the GI Bill to pay for his education at Augusta University. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

“I knew I wanted to do something in journalism and always liked doing research, and I liked editing,” said Boland.

Every now and then you can still find Boland at the Summerville Campus. In the fall, he was part of the Pamplin Future Fest. He will also turn to Dr. David Bulla, Dr. Melanie O’Meara and Dr. Debbie Van Tuyll for advice. All were difference makers to Boland during his time at Augusta University.

Through the Department of Communication, he found an internship at the Jessye Norman School of the Arts, piquing his interest in teaching.

“They were looking for people that want to do film and photography. I’m like, well, I have years at AU doing both of those things, so it was a great fit.”

The internship led to his current full-time job at the school as the photo and digital arts teacher. Despite not having experience teaching young people beyond 18-year-olds who just joined the Army, Boland has picked up the process quickly and finds the job gratifying. He said seeing the students’ progress from one year to another amazes him at times.

“It’s really neat when you see a 10-year-old learn how to use Photoshop and InDesign and these programs I didn’t even learn until when I was going to college,” said Boland.

He’s found that most students at the school are self-driven. Despite the past challenges of virtual learning, many embraced it. Boland said they’re being given more responsibilities and bigger projects to undertake.

“When they come back, and they learned something from the year before and take the entire summer off, they’re like, ‘Hey, I downloaded this program that we were learning from and this is what I’ve done with it.’ They come back and they’re running circles around me.”

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
Avatar photo
Written by
Kevin Faigle

Kevin Faigle is Media Relations Specialist at Augusta University. Contact him to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at

View all articles
Avatar photo Written by Kevin Faigle

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

graphic that says download jag mobile with icon buttons below that say download on app store and download on google play with a picture of a phone
Students smiling for a photo in front of the James Brown statue downtown.