Jana earned her bachelor and master's degrees at Michigan State University and her Ph.D. at Wayne State University. Jana was born in Riga, Latvia and escaped with her family to Germany after the Russian occupation during World War II. There, they spent five years in a refugee camp until being sponsored to the United States. She and her family arrived in Grand Rapids, Michigan where she developed a love of mathematics during high school.
Jana has since settled in Dearborn, Michigan where she has raised a family and taught at Marygrove College for over thirty years. She is also a member of The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics She enjoys tennis, having earned many titles in both single and double tournaments and taught it professionally. She also likes to ski with her family.
Since Latvia's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Jana spends every summer in Riga, the 811-year-old capitol city with her friends and relatives.