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Lauryn Jones

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Bio

As a first-generation student of color, my desire is to create equitable spaces in higher education for students who look like me. While earning my Bachelor’s Degree, I majored in Psychology with a minor in African American studies which fueled my passion for social justice. Additionally, I held various positions that allowed me to advocate for social justice at my undergraduate institution, Ball State University. Serving on the Student Antiracism and intersectionality Council and also being a Peer Advocate Leader allowed me to educate my peers on how to be antiracist on campus, in their communities, and within their career field. These experiences were important for my interest in social work because I learned how to lead uncomfortable conversations that can benefit our communities. I also gained a passion for standing up for the rights of others. Through these experiences, I have been able to clearly identify my career goals. I begin my Masters in Social Work program this fall to become a Licensed Social Worker working in nonprofits and in higher education to develop programming for students from underrepresented groups to feel seen, empowered, & equipped to achieve their college and career goals.

Education

University of Houston

Master's degree program
2023 - 2025
  • Majors:
    • Social Work
  • GPA:
    4

Ball State University

Bachelor's degree program
2018 - 2022
  • Majors:
    • Psychology, General
  • Minors:
    • African Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics
  • GPA:
    3.5

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Social Work
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Higher Education

    • Dream career goals:

      Working in DEI affairs

    • Program Coordinator

      Center for Leadership Development
      2022 – Present2 years
    • Caseworker

      A Better Way Inc.
      2022 – 2022
    • Suicide Prevention Specialist

      A Better Way Inc.
      2021 – 2021

    Research

    • Research and Experimental Psychology

      Ball State University — Research Assistant
      2020 – 2022
    • Research and Experimental Psychology

      Ball State University — Research Assistant
      2021 – 2021

    Arts

    • Design
      2022 – 2022

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs — Chaplain
      2022 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Stand Up, Speak Up, LLC. — Workshop Coordinator
      2017 – 2019
    • Advocacy

      Student Anti-Racism and Intersectionality Advisory Council at Ball State University — Planning Committmee Member
      2021 – 2022
    • Volunteering

      A Better Way Services, Inc. — Student Intern
      2021 – 2021

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Henry Bynum, Jr. Memorial Scholarship
    Growing up in a small town in Georgia, I knew I was different. My skin was darker, my hair was more coarse, and my elementary school was predominately white. Once, I sat with a group of white girls during lunch, but they moved seats. For months, I asked myself why. Then, I met a group of Black kids and realized they mostly hung out with each other. At that point, I learned that race played a part in our interactions, or lack thereof, with our peers. However, gaining friendship with the other Black students helped me feel safe to be myself. From then to high school graduation, I sought after friendships with other students of color to allow me emotional safety and comfortability. Upon graduating high school, I attended a predominantly white university with a small Black population. Because of my experience in Georgia, I was too afraid to do things such as, talk too loud or wear my natural hair to avoid being stereotyped. Thus, my first year was isolating due to being away from home, having a handful of friends, and unaware of how to navigate my campus’ culture. I enrolled as a Psychology major with a minor in African American studies. Through my minor, I learned about the struggles and achievements of Black people, locally and globally. I also discovered spaces that were created for Black students on campus, including our natural hair club, Kinky Curly Alliance. Until that point, my academic pursuits brought adversity due to the racial climate in the schools I attended. Through finding safe spaces, mentorship, and attending therapy, I have been able to unlearn the trauma from microaggressions and other injustices I've experienced. I gained a desire to pursue a career where I can advocate for and respond to the individual and community injustices people of color face. I gained advocacy skills by serving on my campus’s Student Antiracism and Intersectionality Council. I also held a position as a Peer Advocate Leader. Both roles allowed me to educate my peers on how to be antiracists on campus, in their communities, and within their career field. As a Peer Advocate Leader, I presented workshops on disability awareness, representation of minorities, and effective activism. After graduating last May, I took a gap year to gain additional professional experience. I have worked as a Program Coordinator at the Center for Leadership Development. I craft and host programs and workshops to educate minority youth and their families on college and career preparedness and mental health. This year, I have created a mental health series that will include workshops such as “Students and Stress Management” and “Building Resiliency”. During this series, students will learn how to recognize, handle, and overcome stress. This fall, I am beginning my Master’s in Social Work program at the University of Houston with a focus on program development and community building. I aspire to continue creating programming to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of students of color. Through effective programming, campuses will be able to acknowledge and embrace their population of students, faculty, and staff of color. Research has shown that when people of color feel safe within their schools, they receive higher grades, have a greater well-being, and are more likely to graduate. Alongside, I believe creating safe spaces will allow for campus experiences for everyone. I appreciate you hearing my story! Your support will allow me to continue to be a change agent in education.
    Learner Math Lover Scholarship
    As a little girl, I was always told that I got my beauty and sassiness from my mother and my brains from my father. My dad always encouraged me to pursue the highest levels of education. He has always invested in his children's academics by ensuring he was readily available to assist us. Over the years, math has come easy for me. But it started with an activity my dad created. I grew up in Savannah, Georgia with my brothers, mom, & step-dad. My biological father remained in my hometown, Indianapolis, Indiana. But, my dad and I's daily phone calls made him feel right by my side. He called to ensure my homework was completed and to offer any help. Once, after helping me, he gave me a pop quiz over mathematics. He provided several addition and substraction problems to solve. I quickly grabbed scrap paper, wrote the equations, and found the sums and differences. Because of our bond and his encouragement, I didn't perceive this as additional work, but as a game. No matter what question he gave me, I answered them correctly. I wanted to win. We continued this "game" for weeks. Then, I found a desire to continue the activity on my own. During the summer time, I'd ask my mom to buy math work books from our neighborhood CVS to prevent "summer brain drain". Because of this mental training during summer breaks, I was ready to conquer math subjects during the upcoming school years. During my senior year of high school, I enrolled in pre-calculus. Even though it was difficult, I didn't want to give up. I wanted to find the same excitement i had as a little girl. So, I began askimg for help from my teacher, Ms. Franklin. She allowed me to sit in her class during my lunch breaks to ask questions and avoid a loud cafeteria with mean teenagers. Focusing on graduating, passing pre-calculus, and overcoming peer pressure and ridicule made my senior year difficiult. I received help with my math class, but also guidance on navigating the challenges I endured. Because she saw my effort, she offered extra credit which helped my grade go from a low C to a B. Her investment in me helped find the excitement again. I do not love math just for the subject, but because of the people who made math easier and more enoyable.