Jones College’s associate degree nursing students graduate

ELLISVILLE – Jones College’s Associate Degree Nursing program held a pinning and graduation ceremony for 26 graduates who have spent almost two years preparing to be of service to others.  This intense education and rigorous clinical training has prepared them for the challenges they will encounter on the job.

“We have the best faculty and they are dedicated to this difficult curriculum because lives are at stake,” said Jones College President Dr. Jesse Smith. “These folks are going to touch lives, save lives and they’re going to ease the transition of some lives into the next life and they’re going to be prepared. I want to congratulate families for supporting these graduates and allowing them to concentrate on this difficult task.”

Class president, April Phillips of Purvis agreed with Dr. Smith. While her classmates have sacrificed a lot, they have also been encouraged by faculty, friends and family to help them reach this goal.

“We’ve all had different reasons for pursuing this profession; we’ve sacrificed a lot. In some form or fashion, we’ve also been encouraged by someone to pursue our dreams. Whatever employer hires from this group, they are getting a well-trained, skilled, educated, safe, caring nurse. I am so proud of each of you,” said Phillips.

Jones College nursing faculty played a significant role in preparing confident nurses, graduate, Alex Hill of Laurel shared with the audience. On the first day of classes, Hill said the classes’ fears impaired them from remembering how to do simple tasks but waned with more experience and support from faculty.

She explained, “We knew they’d be watching our every move. We knew what to do but we were unsure of ourselves,” said Hill. “However, I don’t believe any of us will be able to thank them enough for sharing their knowledge, teaching us things we need to know, and even teaching us things to do at clinical to make our lives a little bit easier. They are not only our instructors, but they are also our role models,” said Hill.

As the students endured through the nursing program, several students earned special honors and were recognized by the Associate Degree Nursing program division chair, Erin Knight, MSN, RN. Four students were inducted into the National Honor Society for Associate Degree Nursing programs, Alpha Delta Nu, including Emily Davis of Laurel, Austin Griffith of Laurel, MaCalla Matthews of Laurel and Haley Merritt of Lucedale. Eight students had perfect attendance in both the classroom and clinical meetings: Cheyanne Boyd of Laurel, Emily Davis of Laurel, Daniel Haas of Laurel, Megan Livingston of Laurel, MaCalla Matthews of Laurel, Megan McCarty of Waynesboro, Kwadric Smith of Hattiesburg and Carole Grace Wilson of Seminary.

During the Pinning and Graduation program, Knight also challenged the 26, new nursing graduates to never stop learning and continue to make a difference. As she explained the purpose behind the pinning ceremony, she reminded graduates that they’ve answered a higher calling and have dedicated their lives to serving others.

“The nurses’ pin has a Maltese cross with eight points. Each of these points represents Christian values. It’s a source of pride because it symbolizes you have earned the right to serve others,” said Knight. During the traditional Lamp Lighting ceremony, Knight also shared the nurses’ purpose as demonstrated by the modern founder of nursing, Florence Nightingale. “This lamp, such as the one she carried, symbolizes the demonstration of compassion for people. In addition, the lamp symbolizes the passing on of knowledge and experience from the faculty to you graduates… We challenge you to never forget the cornerstone or hallmark of nursing, which is compassion and is shown to every patient that comes your way.  Never let your flame go dim.”

Associate Degree Nursing Graduates 2018

Cheyanne Boyd, Laurel

Mason Brewer, Richton

Luke Cargile, Bay Springs

Jessica Carter, Seminary

Allie Cross, Purvis

Emily Davis, Laurel

Ronterrius Fisher, Hattiesburg

Jacelia Fountain, Woodville

Austin Griffin, Laurel

Daniel Haas, Laurel

Seairra Hayes, Petal

Alex Hill, Laurel

Megan Livingston, Laurel

MaCalla Matthews, Laurel

Meagan McCarty, Waynesboro

Amber McGill, Laurel

Haley Merritt, Lucedale

Stephanie Myers, Waynesboro

April Phillips, Purvis

Baylea Powell, Mt. Olive

Martha Ramirez, Laurel

Alexis Riddle, Hattiesburg

Bailey Rogers, Bay Springs

Kwadric Smith, Hattiesburg

Holly Sturdivant, Meadville

Carole Grace Wilson, Seminary

Thirty Jones College practical nursing student graduates- ready for work

ELLISVILLE – After three semesters of classes over the last year, 30 Jones College students are ready to become Licensed Practical Nurses. After successfully completing the program these graduates are ready to pass the licensing test, NCLEX-PN and go to work as LPN’s. Most of these students are already working in a medical setting and look forward to being able to serve patients in their expanded roles.

“When I think about practical nursing, I think of service. Every student here today has put themselves aside to serve others. Regardless of the situation, you have made a commitment to touch countless lives that will span over your career. There is no doubt that each of these students here today has a heart of service which will be a treasure to others,” said Rod Tolbert, Jones College Career and Technical Dean.

During the pinning ceremony and celebration of the classes’ journey to become nurses, three Jones College students were recognized for exceptional work.  Kandace Russell of Waynesboro earned the Perfect Attendance Award for not missing or being tardy for a clinical. Students compiled 635 classroom hours and 345 clinical hours over the year.  Kimberly Squires of Sumrall earned the Highest Average Score Award and JaMiracle Rayborn of Petal was presented with the Florence Nightingale Award for exhibiting integrity and the selfless qualities of Nightingale. During the Crimean War (1853-56), Nightingale fundamentally changed the role of nursing in hospitals which is to provide a safe and caring environment that promotes patient health and well-being and introduced new, professional training standards.


Morgan Ainsworth, Ellisville

Courtney Arrington, Laurel

Jennifer Barnett, Ellisville

Cody Boyles, Waynesboro

Shaterica Brown, Biloxi

Talonda Genae Brown, Laurel

Makayla Burks, Ellisville

Megan Coston, Laurel

Briana Elizabeth Dixon, Stringer

Elizabeth Ellzey, Purvis

Daisy Danielle Fisher, Woodville

Jacqueline Griffith, Magee

Korriana Janae Hardy, Leakesville

Ashley V. Harris, Monticello

Korina Hayes, Mendenhall

Kayla King, Ellisville/Collins

Sierra Symone King, Shaw

Courtney Abril Lee, Poplarville

Rebecca Lynn Malone, Lucedale

Keri Alexandra McDonald, Waynesboro

Jerrica Mims, Lucedale

Ariel Rawls, Seminary

JaMiracle Rayborn, Petal

Kandace Russell, Waynesboro

Kimberly Ann Squires, Sumrall

Kaylyn Rose Walters, Moselle

Kristin Watts, Magee

Briante’ Darnette White, Natchez

Alicia Williams, Meridian

Melissa Yelverton, Laurel.

Jones College selects New Century Scholars representatives

ELLISVILLE – Sixteen, Jones College sophomores were selected from the student body to compete for the New Century Scholars Program in conjunction with the International Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa’s academic scholarship program.  These top academic and career and technical students were nominated by faculty members and then selected by the JC Scholarship Committee and administrators.

Some of the requirements to earn a spot in this prestigious group include maintaining a 3.5 to 4.0 GPA, taking challenging academic courses, completing a minimum of 36-college credit hours, volunteering in their communities and college, doing well in an interview with the Scholarship Committee and students must submit an application for the New Century/All-USA Academic Team.

JC’s nominees for the New Century Transfer Pathway Scholarship or the New Century Workforce Pathway Scholarship are Trevor Amason, a civil engineering major from Mize; Madison Bolling, an accounting major from Petal; Caleb Brownlee, an electro-mechanical technology major from Moselle; Allison Byrd, a biology/pre-med major from Laurel; Shivum Desai, a biology/pre-med major originally from London, England and current resident of Oak Grove; Trace Henry, a civil engineering major from Mooreville; Da’Vondra Lynch, a biology/pre-med major formally from Quitman and current Atlanta, Georgia resident; Stephen Martin, a biology/pre-vet major from Laurel; Jess Robbins, a business administration major from Oak Grove; Will Russell, a nursing major from Columbia; Ryne Sasser, a biomedical sciences major from Ellisville; Steven Sasser, a biomedical sciences/pre-med major from Ellisville; Matthew Sexton, a mechanical engineering major from Laurel; Maggie Smith, a legal studies major from Richton; Mollie Smith, a speech pathology major from Richton and Jared Woullard, a civil engineering major from Leakesville.

“These students have already accomplished so much in their short lives. They’ve really set the bar high,” said JC Dean of Academic Affairs, Jason Dedwylder, Ph.D.

Selected to represent the college in the upcoming state and national scholarship competitions are academic students, Shivum Desai and Jared Woullard. In addition to the traditional academic scholarship program, PTK’s New Century Workforce Pathway Scholarship program is offering career and technical students a similar scholarship opportunity.

“I’m amazed at all the things our students are involved in at the college and in the community,” said Associate Degree Nursing Division Chair and Scholarship Committee member, Erin Knight, M.S. N., R.N. “It was very difficult to narrow down the choices.”

Working a full-time job at J Parker Services as an electrician’s helper with 22 hours in college coursework, Brownlee manages to find time to volunteer with the Magnolia Baptist Church in Laurel’s Rain Down Ministries. Brownlee said his mentor came up with the idea to get fathers and sons outdoors to enjoy creation. It gradually evolved into a mentoring program for boys without father figures. Working with children, teaching them about God’s Word while spending time hunting and fishing, has also impacted Brownlee.

“I had the privilege of watching young boys spend time in the outdoors for the very first time.  When I saw the impact that just a few weekends a year had on these kids, I knew I wanted to be like the men I had watched volunteer with this ministry.  I’ve been a guide on several hunts. It’s an amazing experience to give kids the opportunity to be outdoors, fellowship with other men and most importantly, hear the gospel,” said Brownlee.

Additionally, Brownlee is involved with the Awana ministry, Camp Macon and Fieldhouse for the Homeless programs. He has also served on international mission trips to Lima, Peru and Bucharest, Romania, and in Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and North Carolina, as well as on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  At Jones, the Moselle resident is a member of SkillsUSA, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and he has earned the Letter “J” academic award. While he is finishing up on his degree in electro-mechanical technology, Brownlee has completed a Career Certificate in Electrical Technology. His future plans include a career in industrial electrical work.

“I want to find a job where I can work enough hours to provide for me and my future family. With the many different options that the electrical field offers, I am quite certain that with the knowledge I will have when I finish at Jones, I will be able to find a job that suits my desires,” said Brownlee.

Originally from London, England, Shivum Desai has already learned about the many opportunities an American school can offer students. At the Lyndon School in England, Desai was the Secretary of the student body and the captain of the cricket team.  At Jones, Desai was recently named the HEADWAE student recipient for the  College and he is the president of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, a member of the Student Government Association, and recipient of the Letter “J” academic award. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA while also working as the assistant manager at the Hattiesburg Baskin-Robbins. In pursuit of learning which area of medicine he wants to specialize, the Oak Grove High School graduate volunteered at both hospitals in Hattiesburg. When his grandfather had a heart attack in 2013, he realized cardiology and saving lives was his calling.

“While at Merit Hospital volunteering in the ICU, I met a patient that survived a heart attack and stroke simultaneously. She had lost the use of one of her arms so I occasionally fed her. She explained, her husband passed away three months prior to her heart attack and she was not able to have kids.  I would often visit her and even though I was just talking with her, her whole mood changed. This is very significant to me because I realized I could serve someone by just talking to them. I didn’t realize the impact it had on her life, and mine too,” said Desai.

After graduating from Jones, Desai plans to get his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Mississippi and his doctorate degree in medicine from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, specializing in invasive cardiology.

Greene County’s Jared Woullard hopes to also make a difference in the lives of his peers as the Student Government Association President at Jones and in his hometown. While pursuing a degree in civil engineering, Woullard also participates in all intra-mural sports, Sigma Kappa Delta English Honor Society, Concert Choir, Bobcat Brigade and he is a member of the Presidential Student Advisory Task Force, the Charles Pickering Honors Institute and Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society.

“I am motivated by everything that I come in contact with whether it be a person or an experience. I am always pushing to be the best me so that I can help others and inspire greatness,” said Woullard. “Being involved on campus has given me a platform to encourage leadership and participation. This platform has allowed me to help others, learn from others, and most importantly, it has allowed me to touch lives.”

Ultimately, Woullard would like to earn a law degree and run for a seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives with the goal of bettering the State of Mississippi for future generations.

The sixteen students were treated to a special luncheon held in their honor with PTK sponsors and administrators prior to the announcement of the three students selected to continue in the competition.  Brownlee, Desai and Woullard spent the holidays writing essays for the application process to have the opportunity to earn state and national scholarships along with other honors. They will be recognized next spring in Jackson upon the conclusion of the competition.

This program annually recognizes 100 scholars. Each New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar receives special recognition at the Association of Community College Trustees Congress. Each New Century Transfer Pathway Scholar receives special recognition at the American Association of Community Colleges Convention. The New Century Pathway Scholarship program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, the American Association of Community Colleges and Phi Theta Kappa.


Jones College is offering an 8-week welding class in Ellisville

ELLISVILLE – Jones College’s Workforce College is offering a welding day class at the Whitehead Advanced Technology Center in Ellisville in January. The course will meet Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., beginning Monday, January 22, 2019, through Friday, March 29, 2019.

This 8-week welding class will cover welding safety, Oxyfuel cutting, basic metal preparation, weld quality, SMAW (stick welding), steel prep and basic fabrication. A workforce certificate will be issued to successful students upon completion of the course.  The cost of the class is $350.  Students are responsible for their own personal protective equipment. Financial assistance may be available to qualified students.

To register and pay for the welding class please come to the Whitehead Advanced Technology Center or call 601-477-4114 to register and to pay for the cost of the class with a credit card.


Jones College selects HEADWAE recipients

ELLISVILLE – Two highly motivated and hard-working men in the science field were selected to represent Jones College as the Higher Education Appreciation Day, Working for Academic Excellence representatives. Science instructor, Eric Shows of Ellisville and Jones College sophomore and pre-med/biology major from Hattiesburg, Shivum Desai were selected to represent the college in Jackson during a special day of recognition. They will join 70 outstanding students and faculty members from 34 Mississippi public and private universities and community colleges in Jackson to receive special recognition from the Mississippi Legislature in February, at the 32nd annual HEADWAE luncheon as a reward for their excellence in education.

“I am honored to represent the college and also my division, as we have had several high caliber science faculty and student honorees for the program during my time at Jones.  This year it is extra special because I get to share the honor with Shivum.  I have served as Shivum’s academic advisor and have seen him in action as a Phi Theta Kappa honor society officer, so the whole experience has an extra dimension of significance,” said Shows.

Additionally, this honor is also shared with Shows sister and mother. His sister, Natalie was the HEADWAE student representative with their mother Sandra, who retired from JC after teaching cosmetology for 29 years, represented the faculty HEADWAE representative in 2007.

“I’m sure this is probably a rarity to have family members chosen for this same honor but that also makes it extra special,” said Eric Shows. “I am humbled to be selected also knowing I was nominated by a faculty member and because I know I have the support of my colleagues and the college administration.”

Shows has been the Science Division Department Chair for the last five years and has been teaching freshmen honors biology and microbiology courses for the past nine years at Jones College. The South Jones High School graduate was a dual-enrolled student at Jones in 2000, before his senior year of high school, taking general physics I and II and college algebra.  He earned his bachelors of Science degree from Mississippi State University and his master’s degree in cell and developmental biology from Vanderbilt University. Shows has published several reports, abstracts and presentations with his colleagues including a report in Science magazine.

At Jones, Shows has been recognized as a finalist for the Faculty of the Year award in 2014, he was also selected to participate in the Mississippi Community College Leadership Academy, and he serves the college as the Mississippi Space Grant coordinator for Jones College, the co-principal investigator for the National Science Foundations’ Geo-SPARCC (Geosciences Streamlined Pipeline and Research for Community College’s Grant), he is the Advisement coordinator for the Science department and a PTK advisor.

“Eric is a valuable asset to the college. His student-centric focus embodies the very reasons why we are here. Whether it is in the classroom or an extracurricular activity, Eric is constantly challenging our students to be their best. He is an inspiration to us all!” said JC Dean of Academic Affairs, Jason Dedwylder, Ph.D.

Jones College student representative, Shivum Desai has aspirations of being a cardiologist. When the Oak Grove High School graduate is not working as the assistant manager at the Baskin Robbins in Hattiesburg, or in classes, Shivum is volunteering in Hattiesburg’s hospitals, while also maintaining a 4.0 GPA. During spring break he “job shadowed” at Forrest General Hospital and he routinely volunteers in the ICU at Merit Health Hospital. He is also the president of the International Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa at Jones. Recently, Desai was also chosen as one of three Jones student recipients as a New Century Scholars/All-State Academic Team member through Phi Theta Kappa.

“Serving students and those in the community is an accomplishment for me.  But, if I can serve those that are in need, it then becomes an honor because of the impact it has on their lives,” said Desai.  “Being selected as the HEADWAE representative as a Jones student is a huge honor for me. I am thankful for those who believed in me and have been there to support my goals.  I hope I can inspire others to do great things and excel in their future endeavors.”

Dr. Dedwylder said Desai’s self-less attitude is a rarity among college students. Volunteering in the hospital has made Desai more aware of others’ needs. He enjoys spending time with these strangers in need, comforting them. I am very impressed because Desai is a full-time college student who works, volunteers and has a difficult and time-consuming field of study, yet freely gives of himself.

“Shivum is a remarkable student. There is no doubt he is committed to improving the quality of life of all around him. His journey to be a cardiologist will open doors for him to serve others and fulfill his purpose. He lives out our motto of ‘Inspiring Greatness’ every day,” said Dedwylder.

Desai’s future plans include graduating from Jones in May and earning his degree in biological sciences at the University of Mississippi, attend medical school and complete his residency in cardiology or internal medicine. His parents are Sanjay and Karuna Desai, who moved to Hattiesburg from London, England a couple of years ago.