Jo graduated from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and did her graduate degree in Education at Massey University New Zealand. She has her diploma in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine from the New Zealand School of Acupuncture and TCM Wellington campus, New Zealand under Olatunji.
She was selected, trained and is certified as a Combat Analyst for the US Army Human Terrain System (HTS). She was also a Social Scientist for HTS trained at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Jo served in support of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan on NKC, HKIA and Bagram bases as well as living in Kabul and Mazar with the American University of Afghanistan and USAID projects from 2014-2017.
Jo is and has been a specialist for the US Department of State programs, USAID programs since 2008, and worked with UK and USA programs in Armenia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Russia, Ascension Island, Malaysia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Iraq, Morocco, United Arab Emirates and other countries.
Jo has first hand experience in regions of Europe, Central America, the Middle East, Central Asia, Oceania and China.
In addition, Jo gained dual citizenship for herself and her family in New Zealand/Aotearoa, after devoting years to working for the Huata whanau (family) and Kahurangi National Maori Dance Company.
She has lived and worked with Indigenous communities in Australia, Northern Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Malaysia and the USA.
She and her husband Martin W. Schmidt (USAF PJ) were married in New South Wales, Australia. Their son Denali Schmidt was born on April 27, 1988 in the Gumbaynngirr Aboriginal nation of New South Wales, Australia. Their daughter, Sequoia Patti Schmidt was born in the Ngati Kahungunu tribal area of Hawkes Bay, New Zealand on January 1, 1991.
Jo can speak about resilience after enduring injuries, trauma and significant losses of her family members, colleagues and close friends.
Jo was a grantee of the Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions (VETS) program in 2022.
Jo enjoys hiking, swimming, playing music, dancing, reading, biking, creative writing, qigong and martial arts.
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