Debbie Firkus earned her master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in journalism and mass communication. She also holds a bachelor's degree from Alverno College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in business management and professional communications. Prior to coming SJNMA, she worked for more than 20 years in the insurance/healthcare industry in administration, human resources, marketing communications, and customer service management. Since 1992, she has been teaching in the professional communications department at Alverno College. She has also been teaching college writing at the University of Phoenix, Brookfield campus, since 2006. She joined SJNMA in January 2004.