Former gang member turned author to share story of overcoming obstacles, earning PhD

When Jason Sole, former drug dealer, notorious street gang member and three-time convicted felon, decided to turn his life around, he turned to education. Sole will share his inspiring story on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 8 p.m. in Mount Mercy University’s Chapel of Mercy.

The middle of three children, Sole was raised in Chicago and joined a gang to gain a position of authority and to financially improve his life. As a result of his criminal activity, Sole has been incarcerated in numerous correctional facilities.

Despite the odds stacked against him, he turned his life around by earning both his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees in criminal justice. He is currently finishing his dissertation to complete his doctorate in public safety with a specialization in criminal justice.

“I feel compelled to bring Jason to campus because of everything that has been going on in our country, and that has happened in the past and what continues to happen,” said Mount Mercy student and event organizer Maurisa Clark. “I know without a doubt he will say something during his talk that will affect all ages. It is not too often that we, especially in the black community, are given a second chance at life once placed in the criminal justice system. Jason is a living testimony of that.”

Sole is an assistant professor at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He is also a national keynote speaker and gang trainer, including serving as a national trainer for One Circle Foundation. Through his firm, Jason Sole Consulting LLC, he offers juvenile and criminal justice agencies the tools they need to influence people affected by delinquency, incarceration, poverty and other social ills.

Sole’s talk will mirror lessons shared in his book, “From Prison to PhD: A Memoir of Hope, Resilience, and Second Chances.”

This event is possible in part by funding through Mount Mercy’s Student Government Association. The event is free and open to the public, but seating may be limited.

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