Major: Individual Studies
Transfer Institution: State University of New York at Geneseo
Current Position: Ph.D. Candidate in Mathematics
Current City: Raleigh, NC
While a student at Jamestown Community College, Jason Scott found his interests spread out among computer science, mathematics, law, and politics, which led him to eventually declare a major in individual studies.
As a member of the top 20 percent of his Jamestown High School class, Jason was a recipient of a USA (Unified Student Assistance) Scholarship. While taking classes, he helped support himself by working at the JCC bookstore, and he also volunteered on the Student Senate. Jason credits his time with the Student Senate with preparing him for the professional world, and providing him with several networking opportunities.
"Leading meetings about issues on campus with students and faculty was a tremendous experience, because I may find myself on a university committee again as a faculty member," he said. "As I took part in application screening and interviewing, I learned invaluable lessons about the academic hiring process."
Originally, Jason intended to major in computer science and become a software developer. However, during his first year at JCC he happened to take courses in Korean politics and constitutional law with two excellent instructors.
"The structure of Dr. Greg Rabb's Korean politics class was incredibly innovative. The class took part in a simulated negotiation with other classes from other colleges. Each class represented a different country with its own interests and objectives during the negotiation," Jason said. "The realistic nature of the course struck me and ended up sucking me in completely. The latter course, taught by Steven Sweeney, took a similar, reality-based approach in that we wrote briefs on famous Supreme Court rulings similar to how a paralegal would brief a lawyer in the real world."
These experiences led Jason to change his major to individual studies, where he could craft his coursework to reflect his new interests and his new goal: law school. "Mr. Sweeney guided me through this process and gave me great advice about the value of mathematics in law, because he believed that mathematics taught one to think logically and formulate an effective argument." After graduating with an A.S. in individual studies from JCC, Jason easily transferred in 2006 to the State University of New York at Geneseo, and declared majors in math and political science.
"My interest in law never waned, but the job outlook and the potential for a fully funded Ph.D. in mathematics lured me in," Jason said. "I ended up with a B.A. in mathematics from Geneseo instead of a double major. Today I am a fully funded Ph.D. candidate at North Carolina State University. My tuition is waived and I even earn a stipend in exchange for teaching or research responsibilities. I earned my M.S. in applied mathematics a few years ago, and am on schedule to earn my Ph.D. shortly. My Ph.D. dissertation is about automated fault detection in real life systems."
Jason's research could help construct more advanced computer programs that find problems with the operation of airplanes, power plants, or complex machinery. After graduation, he hopes to teach at the college level and continue research. At JCC, Jason said that he found a quality but affordable college experience, with the added benefit of making friends while playing ping-pong in the Student Union. "JCC was the start of my career development and I would recommend JCC to anyone."