Current Status: Alumni
Graduation Year: 1995
When Diane (Carter) LeJeune’s (BS ’95) daughter, Sarah, became interested in the performing arts, Diane’s background in music was sparked as well. With Sarah leading the way into acting and producing, Diane became involved and has served as Executive Producer, Producer and Director on several projects in collaboration with Sarah. Diane also writes screenplays and has developed content for “The What If Mom” blog.
The mother-daughter duo soon realized that this medium could be an effective tool for sharing the Gospel, and Sustained Momentum Entertainment (SME) was born. SME’s mission is to “pursue various storytelling outlets including film, theatre, television, blogging, screenwriting, and much more with an emphasis on faith-based stories.” Their first film entitled Sway is a musical featuring 16 Michael Bublé songs. They also have an online comedy series – “Sessions” – about classic fairy-tale characters in therapy discussing their not-so-happily-ever-after.
Diane and Sarah’s latest project will be their first major faith-based production. SME has retained rights to produce a film based on Trish Perry’s book, "The Guy I’m Not Dating." Throughout the story, several Christian dating themes emerge, including abstinence, waiting on God, forgiveness, courtship, male/female friendship, seeing past surface-level stereotypes, and the pain of divorce. Diving even deeper into these themes, "The Guy I’m Not Dating" will address the unique issues that men and women face while dating.
“Our God-given talents are specific to each of us,” Diane shares, “and each of us has the opportunity to use those talents as bricks for building God’s kingdom.”
Diane's HIU experience began when she was hired as the Director of Admissions, followed by time as the Resident Life Coordinator. While serving on staff, she decided to continue her education via Hope’s EXCEL program, an accelerated learning opportunity designed for adults wanting to finish their college education.
Although college wasn’t a traditional experience for Diane, she still engaged with her peers and was willing to serve God in any capacity. She recalls taking Bible courses that served as a foundation for learning. “The concept of servant leadership was fostered at HIU and showed me that in whatever you do you serve as an example for Jesus.” During her time at HIU, Diane was also part of the “Sing by the Sea” Admissions' team, a memory she speaks of fondly.
Graduating with a degree in Organizational Management, Diane continued working in financial aid for higher education at another institution. She had found her career passion: helping students navigate their financial journey to attend college.
Diane is currently living in Tennessee and working as the Associate Executive Director for the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) for the State of Tennessee. TSAC administers over 20 different state student financial aid programs, and increases awareness and participation in the financial aid programs by conducting financial aid outreach and training to students and staff at every high school and postsecondary institution in the state.
Diane shares a particular incident that highlights her affinity for her career:
In my current position, our team has the opportunity to speak with students about their plans to attend college. The conversations always include their financial aid options.
I recall meeting with one young man who was transitioning out of foster care. He really wanted to go to Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), but simply couldn’t afford it. He believed he qualified for Tennessee’s HOPE scholarship. But MTSU had not included it on his award letter.
After speaking with their financial aid office and re-checking his ACT scores, he was indeed eligible for their HOPE scholarship as well as a Foster Child state grant and the PELL grant. As a result, he was able to go to a state school where his tuition, room, board, and books were all covered by financial aid all four years!
It was truly rewarding to be in a position where I could make a significant difference for this young man. I’d love to know where he is now and how college changed the trajectory of his life.