Growing up, Chris Jones was fascinated by the concept of time travel. He would stay up late thinking about what would happen if he could go back or travel forward in time.He likes this kind of show Quantum transition with Star Trek, So when he announced at the age of 8 that he wanted to be an astronaut, his parents were not surprised. Although the inability to hear sound from his right ear prevented his dream, it did not prevent him from pursuing an academic career in science.

In June, Jones announced that he would run for governor of Arkansas to replace the limited-term governor Asa Hutchinson. video This has become viral.

Among other things, Jones is a veteran of the college. The nuclear engineer received a full scholarship from NASA, entered Morehouse College, and studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a graduate student, and later served as the assistant dean of graduate education. He helped astronauts build technologies that have been used in space and was part of a team that doubled the number of minority enrollments in the MIT Graduate School. But in the political field, he is a newcomer.

“I think people with higher education sometimes underestimate their influence and their ability to save lives and change our society,” he said.

Jones and chronicle Regarding his time in academia and what he thinks is the biggest problem in higher education today.

For the sake of space and clarity, this interview has been edited.

If I am wrong, please correct me, but without a full NASA scholarship, would you not be able to attend Morehouse University?

That is correct. My family already has two children in college, and I don’t think they can afford it. They never told me. They never want to show it, they keep praying. So when we received a call from the NASA scholarship, I shed tears, and they shed tears. It was not until later that I realized the importance of their tears, because they were willing to give way at all costs, because this is something in my heart. . But God stepped in and gave me a NASA scholarship.

What do you think is one of your greatest achievements during your stay at Morehouse?

The two resounding aspects are the relationships that I have built. During my time in Morehouse, I have built a deep relationship with faculty, staff, and people from Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, Morris Brown College, and cross-sect Friendship Theological Center of Georgia Institute of Technology-there are many schools there. So these relationships are lasting.

I think the other part that I am most proud of is that I experienced severe tests in that era and perfected how I practiced my own values, Christian values, family values, friendship values, how I look at the world, and how I look at business. How do I view education. It did not finalize how I achieved these, but it improved how I achieved these.

What motivated you to decide to study as a graduate student at MIT?

By the time I went to MIT, I actually had some great research experience, but my grades were not the first in the class. They are fine, but a few semesters there are not good at all. I understand that college is not easy, and it is not easy to balance things. I have learned a lot from it.This [then] Dean of the Faculty, Dr. Walter E. Massey-he is my mentor-he manages the National Science Foundation, he is [provost and vice president for academic affairs at] University of California system, extraordinary guy and physicist. When it comes to applying to MIT, he wrote one of my suggestions. He asked me where I applied to go to school, and I said, “There is no other place.” He said, “Look, I think your research experience is great, your grades can be better, and I think you need a safe school, Instead of putting all the eggs in the MIT basket.”

At the moment in his office, my answer to him was, “For me, this is a question of faith. I believe this is the direction I should go in. I want to put all my energy on this. The result is okay, no matter what the result is.”

What are the differences in the transition from an undergraduate HBCU to this large private university?

The differences are great, but they also have huge commonalities. One thing in common between MIT and Morehouse College is the deep affection for this school. However, there are many differences. Boston is very cold. People interact differently from the south, but they love each other and you will learn to operate and operate in different spaces. The pace is much faster, but I got everything I need to succeed. I got it from Morehouse and my growing up in Arkansas. It just took some time. I must grow and learn.

I think my first exam at MIT, I studied for several weeks, and I worked hard-it was nuclear engineering. I thought, “Well, it will be hard, but I’m ready.” I went in. I take the exam. I thought, “Oh, my goodness. This is one of the toughest tests I have ever experienced.” We got the results back. I am a little nervous. Now the test score is 100. I didn’t break double digits. That’s how bad the test was. I broke down completely, then, I raised my face, I went to the office, and I said, “Well, what can I do to change? I need to get better.”

During your tenure as the Assistant Dean of Graduate Education, you participated in an effort to double the number of minority students at MIT. Why is this important to you?

We walked around, listening to the opinions of current MIT students and faculty, and then went out to hear the opinions of the students we wanted to enroll. We asked a question, “What prevented you from coming to MIT and Boston? What kept you from participating and getting excited about it?” Internally, we asked: “What prevented you from becoming MIT The success of college color graduate students?” Then we asked our partners, “What is preventing you from successfully attracting minority students?” Through this, we have just developed a series of demand-solving projects that solve the problems people face in the graduate experience. Challenges have improved the quality of life and overall academic experience of ethnic minority students. I believe these projects are successful.

In my time, I think we have more than 1,000 students participating in the MIT summer research project.

What do you think is the biggest problem that plagues higher education today?

I think there are many problems that plague higher education today, and there is no Covid. For Covid, there are the following questions: How will we deal with the vaccination rate? How will we deal with virtual learning? But without Covid, the cost of higher education has been rising, and the requirements for managers have also become higher.

As the assistant dean, one thing we have seen is the increased demand for solving students’ mental health problems, which puts a lot of pressure on the system. The composition and nature of teachers have changed-whether you are on tenure or non-tenure, part-time or part-time. We have four-year universities, liberal arts colleges, junior colleges, community colleges, technical colleges, online universities and face-to-face. It just puts a lot of pressure on the system, not to mention the erosion of trust in institutions, and higher education is one of these institutions. We must find a way to rebuild trust and at the same time find a way to balance some of the requirements that universities face so that they can serve students in a fair manner.

One of your campaign goals is to invest in education in Arkansas. What do you think it is?

It is not my job to force someone to take a certain track. It is not my job to persuade someone to do something. I believe my job is to help lay out a set of options and make sure they understand them and are best prepared to grasp them.

Therefore, our education is strengthening the bridge between the K-12 system and the higher education system. It also established our vocational training program. We teach roofing, welding and carpentry, coding and drones; now people can graduate from high school, get certification, and really perform well, all the skills needed.

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