Stephanie Jones, the first NC State graduate student to earn a master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies, accomplished multiple personal and career goals since graduating in 2007.
Before earning her master’s degree through NC State Online and Distance Education, Jones taught parenting education at the Brunswick County Cooperative Extension office. During Jones’ time in Brunswick County, Professor Emeritus Karen DeBord became her content expert from NC State.
“My admiration for Karen and her work, along with my desire to be more effective with the parents and families I worked with, led me to pursue a master’s degree,” Jones said.
Jones pursued her master’s degree from both NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). At that time, the joint program was offered between NC State and UNCG. Today, CALS offers a Master of Science in Youth, Family and Community Sciences and a Master of Youth, Family and Community Sciences online.
“While attending graduate school, I learned much that helped me increase my competence and confidence providing parenting education and support. That impact cannot be underestimated,” Jones explained.
During graduate school, Jones was also hired by NC State to work part time to provide support to 4-H and graduate teaching staff.
“The greatest impact that CALS has had on my life and career is related to the relationships that I formed with CALS professors, colleagues and students. I consider many of the people I learned from, worked with and studied alongside my friends,” Jones said.
After earning her master’s degree, Jones continued working for NC State.
“I carried on in the support role I had been in, managing a multi-site research project promoting school success, as well as coordinated the Family, Life and Youth Development’s graduate certificate program, which consisted of six graduate certificate programs in different concentration areas,” Jones said.
Now, Jones is an independent parenting education and family life consultant at her own business, Just Families, which provides parent education and support services to parents, families and organizations.
“I am also the current chairperson of the National Parenting Education Network and a past chairperson of the North Carolina Parenting Education Network. Both organizations are professional associations for parenting practitioners,” Jones said.
Jones says the CALS program really helped her reach her personal and career goals.
“My CALS friends have become a strong personal and professional network for me. I’ve tapped them to write letters of recommendation, provide references, collaborate on special projects and provide advice,” Jones said.