Student Spotlight: Ari Jones
It was a cold evening in February 2016 and the Multicultural Center was full of energy as it was preparing the office as a free site for HIV testing. A very tall student in red scrubs was directing the layout of the room. Since he is passionate about medicine, he recommended that the Multicultural Center serve as the official site for testing. Who is this tall student, who is calm, cool, and collected wearing those red scrubs? His name is Ari Jones. He is a junior dual degree BS/MS Neuroscience student with a concentration in Pre Medicine. There is not a day that goes by that he is not in the Multicultural Center. He loves to talk with the staff, reserves rooms to study and attends several events hosted by the center. In January 2016, Jones attended the MLK Commemoration. Jones said “attending this event allowed me to rekindle my fire and momentum with the work of NAACP and social justice. I learned that the Atlanta community really honors the work of Dr. King from the local community to colleges and universities. It is amazing to see that his life’s work is still relevant today.” Jones has actively attended some of the community hours hosted by the Multicultural Center, which has given him a chance to “understand the different communities that [he] can identify with.” Furthermore, “I have learned about different ways that students identify and what multiculturalism means.” He particularly enjoyed facilitating the community hours for student veterans. Jones took his leadership skills to the next level by participating and serving on the Multicultural Programming Council and facilitating leadership workshops. “These particular workshops have helped me [to] learn about recruitment and retention with my organizations and ways to embrace and highlight diversity. I have learned how to further strengthen my leadership skills,” reflected Jones. With the diversity of interaction within the Multicultural Center, there has definitely been an impact. Jones stated, “the center has allowed me to understand my roots as an African American male. I understand the importance of equity and not [just] equality.”
Jones is not just your average student; he has also served his country in the United States Navy Reserve as Hospital Corpsman since 2014. “I love being a reservist and student. It keeps me physically fit and disciplined. I learned how to manage my time correctly and deal with stress. I encourage my fellow student veterans to get involved at GSU and the community,” said Jones.
In addition to being a top scholar with a dual degree in a five year program and a veteran, he is super focused on co-curricular activities, community outreach and family. Jones’ advice for his fellow classmates is “to make time for what’s important to them. Balancing two jobs and school is manageable: discipline [and] time management have been my keys to success. I make use of my travel time by playing recorded lectures of my professor as a study tool during my commute. Family is important and has been my support network. Make time for yourself, your family, and school.” His other advice from an academic, co-curricular, and social perspective is “to make connections with professors, study hard, work harder, and plan ahead. Get involved, be well rounded, make friends, and network. One more thing, college is about the people that you meet and the experiences that you will have to help to shape who you are and who you will become.”
He is involved with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), American Medical Student Association (AMSA), and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), to name a few. As a first generation college student and the first military veteran in his family, Jones encourages Georgia State University Panthers “to trail blaze and set the bar. My life has been geared towards creating a college and/or military culture for my family. I know that trailblazing requires a lot of work to overcome obstacles because you may not have anyone to tell you how to maneuver through them, but remember that someone has to do it.” He credits “time management and the military” for preparing him to get the work done.
Jones works as a clinical assistant at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia in the emergency room. He is looking forward to a career as a Military Physician. “I always wanted to serve my country and so doing it with the military gives me the best of both worlds- Medicine and Military,” stated Jones. “I have always been fascinated with medicine from my observation of my doctors who encourage me to go into this major.” Dr. Aaron Anderson, M.D.,Assistant Professor for Emory University’s Department of Neurology, said, “Ari is a fantastic student to work with! He would round with me on the Neurology Service during his off times between his classes. It drove home the point of vectors from physics lab when he was able to help the team understand more about vascular ultrasound physics for the patient’s Carotid Doppler study. He has a wonderful energy and I wish him the best.” Jones stated, “Professionally, I want to have my MS degree, be in medical school, and go back on active duty as a physician.” In fact, he knows that his interaction with the Multicultural Center has given him the tools “to better treat the [diverse] population and build a rapport in treating the patient accordingly.”
When he can take a break from his studies and medicine, he sees himself “[traveling] and experiencing diverse cultures.” Every student has got to have some fun, so Jones enjoys outdoors sports like running and basketball. Additionally, he loves to cook since he is vegan. Most importantly, he stays fit both spiritually and physically. Within the next two years, Jones will be finishing up his time at Georgia State, so his wish for the university and the city of Atlanta is to “become more inclusive [as] the campus is self-segregated.” For the United States of America and the world, Jones “want[s] to see more people understanding where they come from and appreciating their culture. I want to see world peace and a place where all countries can get along despite differences.” The Baltimore, Maryland native is truly a unique student with goals, dreams, and desires. One thing’s for sure: Jones loves serving his country and making a difference.