Presentation Winners

Pedro Ortiz-Toral, Chemical & Biological Engineering (Dr. Brent Shanks and Dr. Robert Brown)

Presentation: Steam Reforming of Bio-oil Fractions

Indria Jenkins, Psychology (Dr. David Vogel and Dr. Carolyn Cutrona)

Presentation: Attitudes and Behaviors of Biracial versus Black Boys

Oscar Murillo, Aerospace Engineering (Dr. Ping Lu)

Presentation: Comparison of Autonomous Aerial Refueling Controllers Using Reduced Order Models

Luncheon Speaker

Dr. Jones was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the fourth of six children. Being a first-generation college student, growing up in a single parent household, living in government housing projects, and watching many around him work very hard for very little inspired him to strive for more. After graduating from a local high school in a poor area of Birmingham, he moved to California where he lived in a motel, worked two jobs and went to college full time (using his 10-speed bike as his transportation).

At California State University in Fullerton, California, he earned a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling. He returned to Alabama after completing his master’s degree and attended the University of Alabama where he earned two additional master degrees in psychology and human development. Before earning his Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Alabama, he worked as a school counselor and drug rehabilitation counselor serving young people, families, and substance abusers. His dissertation consisted of developing a mentoring program for impoverished youth living in a rural area with college students serving as mentors. Additionally, he is a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Jefferson State College.

Dr. Jones is a national speaker traveling around the country sharing with many people information on how to succeed and how to reach their maximum potential. His workshop on how to succeed in graduate school is receiving attention around the nation. Through his workshops and keynote speaking, Dr. Jones has inspired thousands of students participating in McNair Programs, STEM Programs, Trio Programs, and others. Additionally, Dr. Jones does workshops on “how faculty can effectively mentor graduate students,” “building self-esteem,” and many more. He is the author of a recently released book entitled “Just What the Ph.D. Ordered” which provides key information, motivation, and preparation tips for anyone desiring to succeed in a Ph.D. program.

Dr. Jones is married to Angela Jones who is presently pursuing a graduate degree in biology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. They have two children; a 7-year-old daughter Samiyah, and a 6-year-old son, Samuel, II. The family enjoys outdoor activities, board games, libraries, and vacationing.


Photos of the 2008 Sympsoium can be viewed here.