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Student Spotlight: Jayna Jones
April 4, 2018

Can you share a brief bio regarding your education and professional background? 

Jayna Marie Jones graduated from Central Michigan University in May 2008 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. After 7 years in theater, she went back to school to earn a Master’s degree in Social Work with a Violence Against Women and Children concentration from Rutgers University. Additionally, Jayna Marie was the recipient of the 2017 VAWC Verizon Wireless HopeLine Scholarship and inducted into Phi Alpha Honors Fraternity. While obtaining her degree, Jayna Marie interned at an all-female substance use and mental health facility in Harlem, NY, and a permanent supportive housing complex for domestic violence survivors in Bronx, NY before transitioning to a full time credentialed position in an out-patient social service agency for domestic violence survivors in Brownsville, NY.

Hometown? 

West Bloomfield, Michigan

What drew you to Rutgers School of Social Work’s MSW program?

I appreciated the flexibility of Rutgers’ online program; between work, volunteering, and my family, it made more sense to engage in online course work. Also, I’m currently located in New Jersey and wanted an accessible campus if programs or events became available. 

What were you most excited about in coming to the School and the program? Most nervous about?

I was excited to finally begin a career that fulfilled me, and the ability to learn from other people’s experiences. Going back to school after 7 years made me nervous, especially being in the online program where I was more removed from the other students than in undergrad.

What are your areas of research or professional interest and what personally drew you to this particular area? 

My concentration is in Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC). I feel that the most pervasive issue within our society is violence against women. Specifically, I focus on a holistic person-in-environment approach with clients, and the need for primary prevention research and methods that aim to stop intergenerational transmission of violence.

List 5 words that friends would use to describe you.

Disciplined, Loyal, Humorous, Direct, Thoughtful

Do you have a favorite quote or phrase that serves as your persona creed or motto?

My best friend quotes Bram Stoker’s Dracula by saying, “There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights.” I try to live my life by finding the light in the dark in any situation, and hopefully succeed in bringing some light to the dark. 

How do you manage balancing your time with schoolwork, volunteer work, and job and/or home life?

Balancing school, volunteering, work, and home was a challenge. I spent many early mornings, late nights, and weekends studying and finishing assignments. The whole process wouldn’t have been possible without my supportive husband, friends, and family. Going back to school is difficult, and it’s something that I had to think about to decide if it was the right time, and whether we were financially stable enough for me to go. My husband was immensely supportive; listening to me dither on about the impact of trauma on the brain, or rant about my frustrations with my internship, he was there for all of it. Ultimately, balance happened for me by having a strong support system, keeping organized, and a willingness to miss out on a few hours of sleep. 

What are your plans after graduation? 
My plan was to find a job in the violence community and that happened as of January 2nd, 2018. I work as a clinician in an out-patient domestic violence program in Brooklyn, NY. I’m currently studying for my licensing exam, and considering doctoral programs. 

Any advice for incoming students? 
The best advice I can give is to find time for joy and celebrate the wins during school. Social work is an emotionally taxing field and it can be difficult to not feel overwhelmed, especially during grad school. Carve out some time to do something that lifts your spirit, as well as be proud of the times where you feel you succeeded with a client or in a class. 

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