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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

De'Nonna Jones

St. Louis, Missouri

Major: Environmental Studies

De’Nonna researched the effect of green spaces in urban areas for her McNair research project.

De'Nonna is a 2022 McNair scholar.

What’s your major and why did you choose that? 

My major is environmental studies. I chose this because it allows me to learn all the different perspectives on environmentalism. When I hear conversations about the environment, they always surround climate change. They typically center around the scientific aspect, like the race to 2 degrees, how much to cut emissions, etc. I care about those things, but I find it hard to find passion in the numbers. When I say I care about the environment, I mean that I care about how people spend time in space, how much we are able to interact with it, what parts of it we decide to preserve or destroy. I care about the surface of the environment. I see a nice looking tree, and I want everyone to be able to experience the joy of seeing a tree. 

Why did you apply to be a McNair scholar

I applied as a sophomore, and at the time, I wanted to go to grad school. I wanted to learn more about what that process looked like because I didn't really know what research was. I just knew that it was something that Ph.D. students do, and they can spend something like five years researching one question. The idea of being able to spend months researching one random question sounded really fun.

What led you to your research path?

I find the city loud and annoying, and I adore being outside. I realize that when you're living in a city, being outside is just standing on the sidewalk in between buildings. I wanted to see if there was a way to escape city noise in an urban space using green spaces or parks. That's what they're for, to replicate national parks on a smaller scale.

What brought you to Knox?

I adore small classes. In small classes, my professors knew my name, which was really appealing. It makes it easier to hold myself accountable when I know that my absence is noticed, or could potentially be noticed. It’s also important to me that I know my professors and am able to recognize their teaching style and how they engage with the class.

What other activities are you involved in?

I was on the A.B.L.E. (Allied Blacks for Liberty & Equality) executive committee for a while, and I am also involved in TRIO. I also took part in Green Oaks Term, which was all about being in and connecting with nature.

Is there anything from your time at Knox that stands out as particularly influential for you?

I would say being a TRIO mentor during my sophomore and junior years. That entire process was very uncomfortable for me, but in a fun way. Pretending that I knew what was going on with my life, but also having people that are younger than me be interested in what I have to say validated my experiences here.

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Printed on Monday, May 20, 2024