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Winell Jones, '08: A Symbol of Success

December 1, 2008

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Brooklyn native Winell Jones, '08, who will receive a master's degree in social welfare at UAlbany's Winter Commencement.

Brooklyn native Winell Jones, '08, is hoping to make a difference in people's lives. She will receive a master's degree -- her third -- in social welfare at UAlbany's Winter Commencement (Photo Mark Schmidt).

Winell Jones' interest in making a difference is rooted in personal experiences growing up as a foster child. Jones' first social worker believed in her, motivating her to succeed. Now, Jones, who will be receiving a master's degree in social welfare at UAlbany's Winter Commencement, wants to return the favor to someone else in need.

"I want to be that light in someoneís life, I want them to believe that they can accomplish anything that they set their mind to -- because I did." said Jones.

That'll be the message to her eight-year-old niece as Jones walks across the stage to receive the degree, her third. In doing so, she hopes to be a symbol, emphasizing how education empowers people to help change others' lives.

Jones has sought to do just that. She has already forayed into the human services field, working with people who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. But, she felt she wasn't doing enough. That's why she pursued a master's in social welfare, adding to her master's and bachelor's degrees in Africana Studies -- all from UAlbany.

"My niece doesn't think going to school is cool or hip," said Jones, a Brooklyn native. "I want to show her something different when I walk across the stage, that education is an important route to following your dreams."

The University at Albany's Winter Commencement is scheduled for 1 p.m. on December 7 in the SEFCU Arena. More than 440  graduate and 535 undergraduates  will receive degrees at the ceremony, which will feature keynote speaker Frances Allen, '54, IBM Fellow Emeritus and the first woman recipient of the Turing Award, considered the Nobel Prize in computing.

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