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Grad Success

Profiles of Florida State's Best and Brightest

Jo-Anna Nieves

Jo-Anna Nieves

College of Business, Law

  • Juris Doctor from the College of Law, 2009
  • Bachelor of Science in Finance and Multinational Business, 2005

Grad Success: Jo-Anna Nieves

Jo-Anna Nieves thought she was going to work on Wall Street. With that as her goal, she came to Florida State University to study finance and multinational business. Like many other students before her, however, she ended up changing her mind about her career several times before graduation. Luckily, she had great experiences at FSU that helped her finally choose the right path: law school.

When thinking back on it, Nieves credits the University Honors Program as a big influence on her career decision. The University Honors Program is for high-achieving, incoming freshmen. These students participate in a weekly colloquium with distinguished faculty and can also enroll in special topic seminars for course credit. These special series helped Nieves rule out which areas didn’t appeal to her and focus on which areas she found herself wanting to explore further.

Nieves left FSU with bachelor degrees in finance and multinational business, and a degree in law. Today Nieves has been able to combine all of the skills she gained at FSU by starting her law firm. She balances the duties of being a lawyer and a business owner.

Her greatest personal achievement, however, has been volunteering for unpaid committees for her local bar association. She helps her community by evaluating judicial candidates and by working with young attorneys to develop their networking skills.

Nieves is also a proud 2014 recipient of the FSU Alumni Association Thirty Under 30 award. Nieves says the award reminds her that people are always watching your work, even if you aren’t aware of it. Thinking of others watching keeps her accountable and motivated in her career. Hopefully this motivation pushes her to achieve her future goals of owning a preeminent firm in California and one day receiving a judicial appointment.


FSU is full of student organizations that promote team building and networking. These organizations also foster a competitive spirit that pushes students to excel. At the same time, the students still share a connection that results in the desire to see one another succeed. This experience gave me the courage I needed to leave a steady job and start my own firm. Who knows what it could do for you?