Thursday, March 26, 2015

Former OU-C political science student Kyle Jones to pursue doctoral degree at Northwestern University

By public relations student writer Leah Sternberger

Former Ohio University-Chillicothe student Kyle Jones has been accepted to the Ph.D. program in political theory at Northwestern University. Jones, who studied political science and French as an undergraduate, is currently finishing his master’s degree in political science at Ohio University’s main campus in Athens.

At OU-C, Jones worked as a tutor in the Writing Center under English faculty member and Writing Center Director Debra Nickles. “I dedicated as much time as I could to the Writing Center because I loved the environment and the students. I considered my tutoring as a means to put the ideas and theories I learned in the classroom into practice,” said Jones.

Even though OU-C does not offer French classes on campus, Jones used his influence at the Writing Center to get others interested in the foreign language and culture.

“He inspired an awareness of French language and culture during his tenure. Naturally, given this enthusiasm for learning and discussion, he proved to be one of OU-C’s best tutors,” said Nickles. “Those of us who have worked with Kyle expect many great accomplishments ahead. His passion and capacity for language, social justice and equity motivate him in ways professors, coworkers, fellow students and employers find most rewarding.”
Jones credits his early academic success at OU-C to passionate faculty members who encouraged him to develop his interests and to think freely.

“I've been extremely fortunate to have worked with some of the greatest minds,” he said. Jones named Nickles and associate professor of Political Science Nicholas Kiersey as two of his most influential mentors.

“They taught me how to think and, most importantly, how to think critically.  Moreover, they’ve shown me the kind of professor I want to be. They're passionate, extremely well-versed, and they possess the ability to approach ideas creatively. I certainly would not be the academic I am today without their mentorship.”

According to Kiersey, in the classroom Jones was a well-prepared, open-minded student who constantly went out of his way to involve others in classroom discussion. “The thing I remember most about Kyle was his genuine commitment to ‘being present’ in the classroom,” said Kiersey. “In my classes, he was the student who was always willing to engage in conversation about key ideas.”

More importantly, Jones was never afraid to speak his mind and share his opinions. He demonstrated for other students the importance of playing around with ideas. “I believe many of our students are afraid to talk in class because they feel they have to be ‘right’ all the time,” said Kiersey. “Whereas, through his passion and initiative, Kyle demonstrated that real learning comes through nurturing a healthy sense of experimental inquiry.”

Looking ahead, Jones wants to enter academia and help harbor the same curiosity and genuine desire for knowledge in other students. “I don't foresee myself doing anything outside of the Academy. I love teaching, reading, and writing too much to do anything else,” he said. 

“I hope that I never come to regard my experience in academia as a ‘job’ or ‘career.’ If there's anything I'm in the business of doing, it's the production of scholarship, of ideas, and guiding others through that process--and this is what I hope to do for as long as I can.”