Dr. Angela Jones has a reputation that precedes her. Over the years, my peers have warned me: she’s intensely professional and a stickler for rules… but one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. She’ll drill you with formatting guidelines and writing etiquette, but her courses will teach you skills you need— both in the classroom and out. She’s a professor that you’ll learn from, maybe more than anyone, and on top of everything, she’s consistently pleasant and always willing to help. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized her helpfulness isn’t just for the WKU community— Jones’s service work extends locally and across the country. She has volunteered countless hours coordinating the English department’s internship program, volunteering at the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society, and presiding over the Bowling Green International Festival. For all this and more, I can’t imagine a worthier recipient of Potter College’s 2013 Public Service Award than Dr. Jones.
Jones’s extensive service work began on-campus in 2007, when she created the English department’s current internship program. Each semester, she places four to five students in internships and provides them with academic advice and guidance. When the spring 2013 semester concludes, forty-eight students will have completed internships— ranging from teaching assistantships in Cherry Hall to record label work in Nashville. Interns maintain weekly communication with Jones, giving professional updates and participating in discussion boards. “With the internship program, I spend about three hours a week updating Blackboard and responding to e-mails,” said Jones. Current intern Hilary Harlan finds Jones extremely devoted to the internship program. “This award is well deserved. She’s probably one of the most dedicated teachers I’ve ever come in contact with,” Harlan said. “She doesn’t get that much of a reward for what she does and it’s good to know she’s getting recognized for all her hard work.” In addition to coordinating this program, a dozen other students have completed “off record” internships with Jones’s help. Four English majors are currently employed with KirkpatrickPrice, a local cyber-security firm that gives students professional writing experience pertinent to their field. Without Dr. Jones’s dedication and enthusiasm, none of this would be possible.
Jones is an avid volunteer of the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society, specializing in Border Collie Rescue. She serves as an evaluator, fosterer, and transport driver— delivering adopted dogs to their new homes, even if it’s several states away. “It helps me channel my love for dogs in a way that’s productive,” Jones said. She grew up on a farm and has over thirty-five years of experience with the breed— an ideal background for someone in her position. “It’s a breed that is particularly surrendered at shelters because people often get them without knowing how to take care of them,” Jones explained. “The breed has a high energy level, so if you don’t give them a job they’ll make one.” Jones has even rescued dogs from puppy mills— helping to remove them from harmful locations and seeking medical care. “There was a notorious breeder in Tennessee that I pulled a dog from. The dog was blind, deaf, and cognitively impaired. Even had a ripped off lip,” Jones said. “I brought the dog home and adopted it.”
Jones also serves her community through the Bowling Green International Festival— an annual celebration of culture through music, dance, authentic foreign food, and much more. “I was happily surprised by Bowling Green’s cultural diversity. When I moved to a small town in Kentucky I wasn’t expecting it,” Jones said. In 2006, she became a member of the festival’s Board of Directors and in 2011 assumed the role of president. Jones plans year-round for the festival, organizing monthly meetings and supervising the many aspects of the event. The festival takes place the last Saturday of September, a day Jones spends working with people in the community. “It’s a great chance to get to know people in the community that I otherwise wouldn’t have known,” Jones said. With her involvement in the festival and her influence on-campus, Jones often acts as a bridge between WKU and the community. “Many volunteers are WKU students and staff,” Jones said. “They’re imperative to this project.”
WKU English faculty couldn’t be more thrilled for Jones’s recognition. “I can’t think of any WKU faculty or staff member more deserving of this award than her,” said Jeffrey Rice, assistant professor. “She has been absolutely instrumental in my development as a Professional Writing program teacher and scholar.” From campus to community, Jones’s example has impacted those around her. She gives this advice to those seeking local involvement: “People may think service work is conventional, but it’s not. There’s something for everybody out there. Every organization I know in town needs help… so just offer. Organizations in Bowling Green are very grateful for help and open to new members. Whatever your thing is there’s someone who can use your talents or interests.” Bowling Green has been wonderfully changed by Jones’s enthusiastic attitude and endless devotion to service. We’re incredibly proud to call her our own.