From her successful career in education to her time on the campaign trail with Vice President Joe Biden.

By Christopher Luu
Updated Aug 18, 2020 @ 8:00 am
Advertisement

Professor Jill Biden's accomplishments go far beyond her time as Second Lady of the United States.

While the wife of former U.S. Vice President (and current presidential candidate) Joe Biden, might be most well-known for her work advocating for military families when Joe held his post beside former President Obama, she actually started out with a passion for fashion merchandising.

"I attended community college in Pennsylvania with the goal of studying fashion merchandising, but I discovered that I didn’t really like it, so I dropped out," she said in an interview with Roadtrip Nation.

Her Relationship with Joe

According to Biography.com, Jill switched her career aspirations during her time at the University of Delaware, but only after she booked a few gigs as a model. Apparently, this was how Joe saw her for the first time when he spotted her on a bus ad.

"I might've done five jobs where you get paid, like, 20 bucks," she told Vogue in 2008. "But I wasn't a model."

The relationship between her and the vice president surprised her at first. She said that Joe wasn't like anyone she'd dated before, because he was a consummate gentleman and they had a big age gap: nine years.

“I was a senior, and I had been dating guys in jeans and clogs and T-shirts, he came to the door and he had a sport coat and loafers, and I thought, ‘God, this is never going to work, not in a million years.’ He was nine years older than I am!," she said in another interview with Vogue. "But we went out to see A Man and a Woman at the movie theater in Philadelphia, and we really hit it off. When we came home ... he shook my hand good night ... I went upstairs and called my mother at 1:00 a.m. and said, 'Mom, I finally met a gentleman.'"

Her Education and Career

After their daughter, Ashley Biden, was born in 1981, Jill returned to school and earned two master's degrees from Villanova University and West Chester University. She then taught at Claymont High School and Delaware Technical and Community College before she earned her doctorate at the University of Delaware in 2007. She was teaching at Northern Virginia Community College when Joe was sworn in as vice president in 2008.

She continued teaching while acting as the second lady, the Washington Post notes. Business Insider adds that Jill is the first second lady to "work full-time while also serving alongside her husband."

NBC/Getty Images

During President Obama's second term, Jill expanded her platform to include military families as well as the women's rights in African countries such as Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone.

Charity work is very important to her.

Newsweek reports that Jill is a vocal advocate for breast cancer awareness. She developed the Biden Breast Health Initiative in 1993 and "has educated more than 10,000 high school girls about the importance of early detection of breast cancer." In addition to her advocacy, she's a published author, having published the books Where the Light Enters, which chronicles her relationship with Joe, and two children's books, Don't Forget and God Bless Our Troops.

And when she's not juggling all of that, she's out running. According to an interview with Runner's World, she's run both 5K races and 10Ks. It all started back in the '90s with charity races. "I got so winded that I said, 'I'm going to start running,'" she said. "My first run was around my neighborhood in Delaware — about a third of a mile. I kept increasing the distance until I got the bug."

She's been a fixture during the 2020 campaign.

Jill has been accompanying her husband on the campaign trail, though she tells CNN that more often than not, they're separated. And when they do manage to find time to spend together, she says they don't talk about work.

"I'm telling you we have very few moments together, so I tried to make the most of those moments, and I don't talk politics," she explained. While she's accustomed to the rigors of stumping for her husband, she says that it's energizing, not exhausting. Even though it's hard work, she insists that it's important and she manages to find a way to keep things lighthearted

"I meet really interesting people all over the country and hear their stories," she said. "You have to make it fun."

She could be the first First Lady of the United States to keep her job while her husband is in office.

In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Professor Biden said she would like to keep her teaching job, even if she become FLOTUS. When asked if she would she replied,  "I hope so. I would love to. If we get to the White House, I'm gonna continue to teach. It's important, and I want people to value teachers and know their contributions, and lift up the profession."