Student Spotlight: Will Jones

Student Spotlight Will Jones 1Junior computer science advanced computing, software engineer student with a double minor in mathematics and informational technology, William Jones is enrolled at Monmouth University but has some interesting life experiences that set him apart from his peers. Not only has Jones served in the United States’ military, he also is married with a son and a daughter and about ten years older than the average college undergraduate.

William Tepfenhart, Ph.D., a professor of computer science and software engineering (CSSE) commented about Jones, “He’s a great guy and good role model for the other students. He demonstrates that by helping others, interacting with new students to make them feel welcome, and [Jones] helps bring a level of maturity to the classroom. He’s active in the Monmouth University Chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).”

Jones is the president of IEEE and organizes many events with the group and continues to find ways to keep the organization active and involved with the community. “Professor Kretsch advises IEEE and Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) and Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE), which is the honor society for computing,” Jones said.

Jamie Kretsch, Chair of the CSSE department and specialist professor said, “He is known by a wide range of students, from freshmen through graduate students, because he is always involved in department-related events, always there to help others, and always in the middle of activities to further our department on campus.

“Will is known by all faculty because of his dedication and enthusiasm for learning, and the strong sense of responsibility he brings to Monmouth and our program. As a U.S. veteran, Will is an inspiration to all in his patriotism and commitment to serving Monmouth and the United States with pride and honor.”

“And, as Will’s advisor and Department Chair, a tiring or overwhelming day quickly becomes so much better when he pops his head in my office to say hello or see if I need any help.”

Kretsch predicts Jones, “Will make a positive difference in the world, since he has already made such a positive difference within our campus.”

Jones’ appreciation and willingness to learn has been something Tepfenhart has noticed right off the bat, “One of the things that I appreciate is that he wants to know and understand, which a very good thing in my opinion.”

“While many students expect to be taught all they need to know in class, Will recognizes that the quest for knowledge only begins inside the classroom and that the real effort of learning takes place outside the classroom.”

Luke Tomkus, a senior computer science student spoke about Jones’ dedication, “He is incapable of breaking rules; it’s embedded in him to respect authority.” Tomkus continued, “Will is probably one of the hardest working people I know. It regularly blows my mind that he has three majors.”

Student Spotlight Will Jones 2Joshua Schlanger a junior software engineering student said, “He’s one of the most loyal friends, he’s always willing to help and will always get his work done. He’s a great group member and will do his work at an exceptional level. He also has this way of being able to make the whole room laugh no matter what.”

Jones said of his time serving in the military, “I enlisted in 2005 [and] left for bootcamp in October. I got out in 2010 and started in 2015 at Monmouth University.”

 When discussing his inspirations for joining the military, Jones revealed, “My grandfather was a marine and I needed a way to ensure that my girlfriend and her daughter had a way of being taken care of, no matter what, so I enlisted.”

Jones and his wife have been married for 12 years and attended  high school prom together; Jones’ wife, Connie, has her own business called Bowfinity and Beyond.“She makes cheer and sport bows and shirts,” Jones explained.

“I do know I would not be here without her so maybe that accounts for something,” Jones shared.

“The distance is hard because I am doing this for the family and I don’t get to see them all the time now so it’s difficult to remember why I’m doing it,” he continued, “When you do not see the reason for going through school, it makes it hard to stay focused.”

To combat this issue of his family being out of sight, Jones often reminds himself of his wife and their kids and takes a lot of trips to Florida where they currently live.

Jones’s accountability for the people around him has carried over into his family life, military service, and into his academic career.

“I joined the United States Marine Corps (USMC) as an infantry rifleman and quickly learned that you have to learn more than just that so during my first deployment I was a radio trained operator and during the second, I was an armory custodian as well as the commanding officer’s turret gunner.”

In comparing Jones’ time in the USMC with student life, he said, “College is a lot more like the Marines than I thought; the military training has stopped a major amount of procrastination. But, it has also made it easier to write because it has given me a whole lot of outside perspectives that I would not have thought about before.”

Michael Marmer, a junior information systems student relays his first memories with Jones, “Will was one of the first people I met after transferring to Monmouth; we had two summer courses together, back-to-back.”

“I remember walking into class one day and he was playing YouTube songs trying to make his friends and the other students guess what song it was without seeing the title. Totally unexpected, but a lot of fun; we all had a great time and he had us cracking up.”

“A year and a half later, he is one of my closest friends. He has such a warm personality that people just gravitate toward him. He is extremely fun to be around, and one of the best people I have ever met in my entire life,” Marmer added.

Jones commented on what it is like making friends that may not directly relate to his life,“Everyone has their own experience, tapping into that is all it is when it comes to the people we surround ourselves with.”

“It was odd to interact with a younger generation and because of this their was a very different understanding but once I was not so self absorbed it made me learn that we are having the same battle,” Jones continued.

After becoming friends with fellow students, Jones noted, “They helped me learn that I am not the center of the universe.”

“I have helped them in the fact that they call it ‘dad mode.’ but I give them the bigger picture,” Jones said.

When Jones is not dedicating his time to the organizations he is involved in, his classes, or his friends, he is fond of reading and anime. Jones added, “I enjoy card games like Magic: The Gathering, Vs. System, and Legendary.”

Jones loves superhero comic books and explained Spider-man is his favorite because of the life lessons the stories offer. “No matter how tough things get as long as you have great friends and family and believe in yourself, you can get through it,” Jones elaborated.

Jones spent his spring break in Florida with his family, which he thinks is important to motivate him in his academic life in New Jersey.

“When you are a dad you have spend time with them; I happen to love it. I also enjoy playing [video] games with my son.”

As Jones looks to the future, he said, “At the end of the day, your goals truly don’t matter once you have kids, it then becomes: their goals matter, so being a great dad would help them fulfill their goals.”

PHOTO TAKEN by Coral Cooper