Wanda Denise JonesDiversity Post Doctoral Fellow
Cornell UniversityIthaca, NY
My name is Wanda Denise Jones. I was born on September 15, 1976 in Selma, Alabama to the late Rosa Lee Jones and the late Roosevelt Watts. As a youngster, I was not into science; I found enjoyment in breaking things as a kid and was fascinated as to how to those broken items could be put back together. Science was not of great interest to me until later in my high school career. My mathematics, computer science, and chemistry teachers inspired me to pursue an engineering career because of my excellent grades in their classes. During my senior year, my father passed away. My mother had already passed when I was one year old. Despite the deaths of both parents, I graduated from Keith High School as class salutatorian, and was voted most likely to succeed. I attended Wallace Community College in Selma on an academic scholarship.
After attending Wallace Community College, I completed a number of internships in the area of biomedical engineering. Beyond the internships, I worked as a Civitan AmeriCorps Volunteer with the mentally and physically handicap. It was then that I realized that I wanted to pursue the Ph. D. in Materials Science and Engineering with an emphasis on biomedical related issues.
I enrolled at Miles College (Birmingham, Alabama) in the fall of 2001. Additionally, I was selected to join a research project at Tuskegee University by Dr. Shaik Jeelani, Vice President of Research and Sponsored Programs. I worked on the project with a research team under the mentorship of Dr. Derrick Dean (Associate Professor and 3M Eminent Scholar at Tuskegee, now Associate Professor at University of Alabama Birmingham). From this research, I won several awards. Upon returning to Miles College for the following school year, my grades were improved by making the President’s List my last two semesters. I graduated in 2003 with a B.S. in Chemistry.
I decided that I wanted to attend the Ph. D. program at Tuskegee University, where I was an IGERT trainee. My dissertation work concentrates on developing light weight and high strength polymer composite materials by using carbon nanotubes and silica polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes nanoparticles as fillers in thermoplastic polymers under Dr. Vijaya K. Rangari.
Recently, I was selected as a Cornell University Diversity Post Doctoral Fellow for 2008-2010.
My research initiative is titled, “The Use of Functional Nanostructured Materials in High Capacity Lithium Batteries for Medical Devices, under the direction of Dr. Lynden Archer. I chose the topic because of complaints I heard from wheelchair users during my AmeriCorps stint about the size and power problems of batteries in their units. Upon the completion of my post-doctoral work at Cornell University, my primary career objective s are to obtain a tenure track faculty position at a college or university and start a private research consulting firm. By doing this , I can actively influence African-American youth to pursue careers in the areas of Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology.
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