Whitney Jones has joined the LANL Foundation as program assistant for grants and scholarships programs. Photo Courtesy LANL Foundation
LANL FOUNDATION NEWS
The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Foundation is pleased to welcome Whitney Jones as program assistant for the Foundation’s grants and scholarships programs. Jones brings more than 10 years of journalism and communications experience covering federal, state and local government across the country.
Jones joined the LANL Foundation in January. She provides administrative support for the Foundation’s scholarships and grants programs. She also assists Grants Manager Sylvan Argo with maintaining relationships with grantees and developing relationships with prospective grantees, helping to ensure that the grant cycle process is seamless, easy and equitable.
“We’re really trying to focus on opening up our grants to everyone committed to serving the educational needs of the community in alignment with the Foundation’s mission, vision and guiding principles,” Jones said.
Jones grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia, but has roots in southern New Mexico through her grandparents and great grandparents. For her, the decision to pursue a bachelor’s degree in journalism at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces was a “welcoming home.”
Jones started working at the campus public radio station in her sophomore year at NMSU. She spent the fall semester of her senior year as an intern at Capitol News Connection, a public radio organization in Washington, D.C. After graduation she worked as associate producer for National Public Radio in Washington, D.C., where her favorite assignment was covering President Barack Obama’s inauguration. After a little more than a year in that position she decided to pursue her master’s degree at the University of Illinois, Springfield. The one-year intensive program paired students with seasoned journalists covering the Illinois state legislature.
Upon graduation Jones accepted a job at WNIN in Evansville, Indiana. A month later she was laid off as part of a massive downsizing at the station. She landed a job as staff writer at the Rio Grande Sun, where she fell in love with the Española Valley community. That was followed by stints as reporter at the Los Alamos Monitor and assignment editor and web producer at KOB-TV.
One of Jones’s early loves drew her to become an in-school program apprentice for NDI New Mexico, followed by two years as dance instructor and artistic director for the Buen Viaje Dance Company at VSA-NM, North Fourth Art Center in Albuquerque. Jones was trained in classical ballet, but at her mother’s urging had turned aside from her desire to be a professional dancer to pursue higher education. Jones loved her work at VSA-NM, a nonprofit dedicated to the learning, creative and entrepreneurial goals of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but her connection to Española drew her back. She accepted a position as program and community outreach coordinator with Moving Arts Española.
“That’s where my classical ballet training came in and called me into that position, because I wanted to be in that community. I really wanted to come back,” Jones said.
Jones’ work at Moving Arts, which included grant writing and program development and evaluation, led her to apply for the position with the LANL Foundation. After being part of the team that wrote a grant proposal that secured a unique Enrichment Grant from LANL Foundation, she was fascinated by the prospect of experiencing grantmaking from the other side.
“The Foundation makes such an impact in the communities that it serves. I love that service-oriented, mission-driven focus, and I felt like the Foundation really provided that on a larger scale,” Jones said. “And I felt like my experience having been a grant recipient would help in evaluating our process, because we need to constantly adjust our process to what the community needs are, for grants and for scholarships. We want to be community responsive.”
Jones appreciates the Foundation’s supportive office environment and everyone’s willingness to work together, provide coaching when needed and express gratitude for a job well done. She compares the Foundation to her experience working for NPR.
“I really love it. I’ve never worked for an organization – besides NPR – that puts such integrity and time and consideration into everything that they do. It’s that diligence I really value,” Jones said. “And everyone has such drive and spirit. Everyone has this service mindset. Everyone wants to serve the community and really wants to listen and create programs and even policies that reflect those values.”
Learn more about the LANL Foundation’s Scholarship Program at https://www.lanlfoundation.org/our-work/scholarships.
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Foundation is currently accepting applications for up to $5,000 in funding through its competitive Outreach Grants. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. MST, March 12, 2020. Find more information at https://ladailypost.com/lanl-foundation-opens-new-outreach-grants-application/.
About the LANL Foundation (www.lanlfoundation.org)
Since 1997, the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has worked to inspire excellence in education and learning in Northern New Mexico through innovative programming, collaboration and advocacy. By investing in human potential, the Foundation’s vision is that all New Mexicans have the skills and confidence they need to be self-sufficient, lifelong learners who are engaged in their communities. Programs in early childhood, K-12 teacher and student programs, inquiry STEM education, scholarships and small grants serve Northern New Mexico communities primarily in Los Alamos, Mora, Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe and Taos counties.