From mixing chemicals in the lab to mixing ingredients in the kitchen for her signature BBQ Bacon Meatloaf Muffins recently featured in Mobile Bay Magazine, Wanda Jones loves to experiment.
“Being in the kitchen, just like being in the classroom and lab, is one of my happy places,” says the assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Mobile. “Everything is made of atoms. How those atoms make different types of matter is so exciting to look at.”
Dr. Jones helps University of Mobile students catch that excitement and build a strong foundation in chemistry. She also encourages them to follow God’s calling for their lives – something she is passionate about for her own life.
“In James 1:27, it says to take care of the widows and the orphans. By being a foster and adoptive parent, I am living out the Gospel. When I volunteer to help others in the community, I am spreading the love of Jesus. When I teach, I am showing others to be like Christ. That is purpose…that is calling…that is my life,” she says.
Read on to learn more about Dr. Jones and what it’s like to teach and learn at the University of Mobile.
Q. You have taught at UM since 2019. What is your background?
A. My undergrad is in chemistry with a minor in mathematics. My PhD is in materials science and engineering. Materials science and chemistry are interdisciplinary and related like first cousins.
I always tell my students that chemistry is my first love and engineering is my second love. I have always found it challenging and therapeutic to know that everything is made of atoms. How those atoms make different types of matter is so exciting to look at. We as humans are walking chemistry experiments. When students look at chemistry that way, it helps them to relate to the subject matter better.
Q. Why should someone choose to study chemistry?
A. Chemistry is ever-changing. With all the advancements in technology, there are some basics that we all still must know. That is foundation. If you have a strong foundation, you will be able to adapt to the changes and face the challenges that come your way.
Having a major in biology with a minor in chemistry is a very versatile degree. You can teach, go into medicine, animal science, marine science, graduate school…the possibilities are endless. There are always opportunities in science.
Q. UM offers “Higher Education for a Higher Purpose.” What does that mean to you?
A. We know that our purpose must be found in Jesus Christ. Students are here to be educated to serve their purpose found in Jesus Christ. At the University of Mobile, faculty and staff are here to help our students find that purpose while being educated.
Q. Why do you teach at UM?
A. I love the family-friendly atmosphere! I also enjoy having coworkers whom I can talk with and do life with. The class sizes are perfect and I get to know my students. Being in the classroom and lab is one of my happy places.