Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Career - Computer Engineer, Wayne Jones, Ph.D.

Brandon Douglas and
Dr. Wayne Jones

In continuing the discussion of this effective youth career day model with content provided by professionals, today's post focuses upon Dr. Wayne Jones.

Wayne Jones, Ph.D., who worked on the cruise missile and became chief engineer of the B-I Bomber, also earned positions as Vice President, Tinker Air Force Base, and Chief Systems Engineer, Oklahoma City Logistics Center. 

Now Dr. Jones is now the dean of English and science at Rose State College in Midwest City. In 2010, Jones retired after thirty years at Tinker Air Force Base, where he had earned becoming director of engineering. Then he went to Rose State. As he commented, “I had too much energy to sit on the porch. I wanted to do something in education.”

He encouraged students to do something in STEM because that is where jobs are now and will continue to grow. As he said, “The future is in STEM.”

His journey has been nothing short of amazing. As he said, from 1974 until now he has been blessed, never having been without a job, not even one day, because of his career choice. (We add also because of his work ethic, work quality and personality.)

Beginning humbly, he reached his goals. Growing up in Spencer, he attended Dunjee High School, where he had good teachers, although the school was generally underrated in academics. Langston University was a great experience for him. The three thousand students from all over the country intimidated him at first. A rural “kid,” he wasn’t sure he could compete. After a semester or two, he knew he could.

His success was all about persistence. Some students were smarter. Some students did not go to class. He realized with more persistence he could stay the course.

He worked in Boeing Computer Services in Phoenix. At this time, Boeing, Honeywell and Motorola had the super computers. About seven years later, he went back Arizona State for his master’s degree in computer engineering. In 1977-78, this was a very big college with 52,000 students. A little intimidated, he went to class, did his homework, persisted, and earned the degree.  

While at Tinker and motivated by a love of lifelong learning and staying current in his field, he took an engineering course at the University of Oklahoma. He had a job, liked the course, which was fun but no pressure, so he continued to take evening classes. Soon he had four or five courses. Eventually, he earned his Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Oklahoma.

As part of his experience with Tinker, his most rewarding job was in Saudi Arabia, but he also worked in Europe. His major and later his occupation allowed him to have unique opportunities after high school.

During his presentation, Dr. Jones held up a device and asked, “What is it?” Some answered a cell phone, some a camera, others mentioned different functions of the device. A cell phone is a hand-held mini-computer constantly being re-engineered. He asked the audience, “How would you like to design the next generation of this device?”

An audience member asked about weak math skills in middle or high school. Common sense suggests requesting formal or informal help now and as needed in the future. Dr. Jones said that Rose State College, a two-year institution, like other universities and colleges has tutoring help available and also remedial classes if needed to sharpen skills. 

Advice: “Be persistent.”

Disclaimer: This post will inadequately convey the details and impact of the actual presenter.  

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