J. Dee Marinko

Meet J. Dee Marinko, DeVry student and 2016 U.S. Paralympian

By DeVry University

2015 USA Volleyball Male Sitting Player of the Year

Education: DeVry University Student, Masters in Education, Higher Education Leadership concentration

Sport: Sitting Volleyball

Hometown: Norman, OK

The 2016 Rio Paralympic Games will be J. Dee’s first Paralympic competition but he has competed at various other big events including the ParaVolley World Championships (2014) and the Parapan American Games (2015).  He was named the USA Volleyball Male Sitting Player of the Year in 2015.

J. Dee lost much of his leg below the knee due to cancer in 2009.  As an athlete who competed in football before battling cancer, J. Dee discovered that sitting volleyball was a great sport for him to use his athletic ability. 

While athletics have been an important part of J. Dee’s life, he is also determined to earn his master’s degree in Education with a concentration in Higher Education Leadership, so he can ultimately give back to others.

“I know how much teachers and educators had an effect on me growing up and I want to be able to give back to the youth,” J. Dee shared.  “Another main reason why I went back to school was seeing the way I can have an effect on people with what I’ve been through, I just want to help as many people as I can.”

As a U.S. Paralympian and the father of two young boys, J. Dee appreciates the flexibility DeVry offers.

“DeVry understands that life happens. They’re able to work with you on an individual basis and do what’s best for you so that you can get your degree, move forward and better your life,” he added.  “The ability to finish a degree and do it on my time was huge. I’ve got two little boys that take up all my time, so I’m with them, playing with them. The convenience and flexibility DeVry provides is amazing.”

J. Dee will be going for gold in Rio during the Paralympic Games in September as a member of the Team USA Sitting Volleyball team.