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Jul 14, 2020   |   Winds of Change

"As a young boy, JJ Jones III loved building. He spent hours playing with Legos and k’nex and never tired of creating something new and different. What started as a young boy’s passion has become a young man’s goal. Now in his third year at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., Jones, Navajo, is majoring in mechanical engineering and minoring in Native American historical studies with plans to become a mechanical engineer, helping to keep his community — and nation — safe," reports Winds of Change in a profile on Jones '21.

... "Jones threw himself into his studies at the Space and Engineering Academy at Merrill F. West High School. While he initially went in thinking he wanted to be an architect, Jones soon found himself drawn to civil engineering and then, ultimately, to mechanical engineering. 'I’ve really liked the CAD (computer-aided design) side of engineering and the use of 3D design software,' he says. 'This software has combined my love for drawing and building. I can get lost for hours designing and assembling parts in the program because of how much fun it is to see an assembled device come from a blank document.'"

... "While it wasn’t easy, Jones is thankful for his family, friends, teachers, and coaches who supported him and helped him get to the next stage in his academic career at an Ivy League school. Although being 3,000 miles away isn’t always easy, Jones mostly takes it in stride. He has enjoyed being on the football team and connecting with other Indigenous students in his classes. What he did find difficult was learning how to manage entirely on his own. 'The hardest adjustment when I first got to college was actually learning to just function as an independent adult and maintaining a certain level of responsibility without a parent or teacher around,' says Jones. 'Learning to set aside specific times during the day where I could ensure I would handle all my school, athletic, and personal responsibilities has been extremely valuable in managing a busy life.'”

... "Thanks to his schooling, an internship at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the careers of his family members, Jones knows where he wants to go, and what he needs to do to get there. 'My ultimate career goal is to be a high-level engineer at a government facility or private business, like NASA or Lockheed Martin, developing new defense and weapons technology and systems,' he says. 'My father, many uncles, and grandfathers have served various military, law enforcement, and other service careers. Through this field I would be able to play my part in preserving our country’s national security.'”

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