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 at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas and is certified as a Combat Analyst for the US Army Human Terrain System (HTS).
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, and TCM programs since 2008. She worked with the UK and USA programs in Armenia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Russia, Ascension Island, Malaysia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Northern Ireland, Bahrain, Iraq, Morocco, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and other countries.
Jo has first hand experience in Europe, Central America, the Middle East, Central Asia, Oceania and China.
Jo lived and worked with Indigenous communities in Australia, Northern Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Malaysia and the USA.
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.
Jo and her husband Martin W. Schmidt (USAF PJ) were married in New South Wales, Australia. Their son Denali Martin Schmidt was born on April 27, 1988 in the Gumbaynngirr Aboriginal nation of Australia. Their daughter, Sequoia Patti Schmidt was born in the Ngati Kahungunu tribal area of Hawkes Bay, New Zealand on January 1, 1991.
Both her ex-husband Marty Schmidt and their son Denali died on K2 in July 2013.
Jo can speak about resilience after enduring injuries, trauma and significant losses of her close family members, colleagues and friends.
Jo was a grantee of the Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions (VETS) program in 2022.
Jo enjoys hiking, swimming, playing music, dancing, reading, creative writing, qigong and martial arts.