Five Jones College students named Tullos Scholars

ELLISVILLE – Five Jones College sophomores were selected as Tullos Scholars, Jaylynn Conner of Waynesboro, Haidyn Houston of Raleigh, Kadin Johnston of Waynesboro, Pablo Lopez of Waynesboro, and Aaron Mason of Raleigh. This is the college’s highest honor for the top five JC students, and it includes an endowed scholarship for the recipients. All five students were nominated by faculty members as they distinguished themselves and impressed selection committee members over the past two years.

Accounting and finance major, Pablo Lopez lives in Waynesboro and serves as a Deacon and on the Board of Directors of his church in Waynesboro. At Jones, he was the Vice President of Leadership for PTK, 2nd Team All-MS PTK member, and he was a member of the Charles Pickering Honors Institute. Lopez said he is proud of his Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society scholarship and being named to the 2nd Team-All State honors but being a Tullos Scholar tops everything.

“It’s just a big accomplishment and to me the one, that’s most important. Being a Tullos scholar, I think was so competitive and honestly, it was unexpected. I just feel good to be just one of five students chosen. It was definitely surprising but I am happy to have it,” said Lopez.

Also from Waynesboro, Kadin Johnston is majoring in physical therapy and was active in Intramural sports at Jones College. As PTK President, he led the Rho Sigma chapter that earned many top honors regionally and internationally. He was also a member of SGA, FCA, Philosophy Club, Bobcat Brigade, and the Charles Pickering Honors Institute.

“I’ve received a few awards at Jones and I’ve been recognized for a lot of things, but it hasn’t been about that here. I got to know so many different people, so many friends, best friends for life at Jones. This is a special place for me because of these people around me; they’re special. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m a Jones Bobcat forever,” said Johnston.

Waynesboro’s Jaylynn Conner, a journalism major said being named a Tullos Scholar was something she was surprised by, but it means the world to her. During her two years at Jones, Conner served as the Senior Editor for the yearbook, The Lair and the Editor of the student newspaper, Radionian. She was also a member of the Charles Pickering Honors Institute, Philosophy Club, and Bobcat Broadcast anchor/reporter.

“Graduating with honors like Academic Excellence, Hall of Fame and being a Tullos Scholar really mean a lot to me because I’m a first-generation college graduate. I didn’t know what to expect but I’m excited to continue at the University of Mississippi in the fall,” said Conner.

Despite being a Jones College student for only one year because of the dual credits she earned in high school, Haidyn Houston was selected for the Tullos Scholar honor. The chemistry major was also an active member of FCA, SGA, and PTK. Additionally, the Raleigh resident served as the Editor for the student newspaper, Radionian, and she worked in the Business Office. Furthermore, she earned the titles of Smith County Miss Hospitality 2024 and Smith County Distinguished Young Woman 2023.

Also from Raleigh, Aaron Mason was named a Tullos Scholar. He is majoring in chemical engineering and served as the V.P. for the Engineering Society, and he was the SGA Science Representative. The husband and father was also a member of the Maroon Typhoon Marching Band, Concert Band, and Percussion Ensemble, and he was a member of PTK.

Requirements for the Tullos Scholarship include being a full-time sophomore, submitting a résumé with two-faculty recommendation letters, having outstanding academic achievements, being engaged in college activities, leadership positions and participating in community service. Each student received medallions and $1,000 scholarships in recognition of being named after the scholarship donors, Gene and Nada Tullos.

Gene Tullos came to Jones in 1960 on a basketball scholarship which he said, gave him a jumpstart and a great foundation to begin Law School. Endowing scholarships, like the Tullos Scholarship Program was his way of returning the “favor” to the college that provided an excellent foundation for a successful career as an attorney in Smith County.

“As he made the single, largest donation ever at Jones, Gene Tullos said he wanted to recognize outstanding students from various majors who are shining stars, to recognize them and encourage them to feel special,” said Jones College President, Dr. Jesse Smith.  “When Gene established this Scholarship, he explained, because of the encouragement he received at Jones he felt like he could make it and be successful. In fact, Gene was a successful attorney for 50 years, only missing three days of work related to his cancer treatment before he passed away in 2016.”

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