A recent recipient of two awards from local engineering associations, Lisa Jones, assistant dean of student affairs for the College of Engineering and Computer Science, is only doing things the way she’s become known for among colleagues and students alike: above and beyond the call of duty in every respect.
In direct recognition for her efforts in organizing last year’s American Society of Civil Engineers Regional Student Conference, which was held at Cal State Fullerton last spring, the society awarded Jones the Distinguished Educator Award in February.
The conference she was awarded for helping organize drew more than 700 participants and featured engineering competitions and speakers.
“The ASCE students wanted to hold a regional conference and I was lukewarm about it. I was not as enthusiastic about it as the students,” said Raman Unnikrishnan, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science.
“Lisa took charge of organizing the students and that was one of the best conferences anyone had seen in years. I think without her, the students would not have had the opportunity to participate in such a major event.”
Just after that, Jones received the Outstanding Service Award from the Orange County Engineering Council, an umbrella group that supports professionals and educators from all types of engineering fields.
She said the awards were probably given to her because of her close relationship with students and professionals who know her and are active in the different associations.
“I didn’t know about the award until they invited me to the ceremony.
In both cases, I knew some of the Cal State Fullerton faculty who are engineers and are involved with the organizations,” she said.
Jones should be getting used to being awarded for her dedication, though, having also been the recipient of the CSUF Titan Excellence Award and the Outstanding Staff Award for the 2004-05 academic year.
Oddly, Jones success in the engineering field came by way of an education in education – she’s not an engineer herself.
But early jobs at the Florida Institute of Technology, where she was in career services, and at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she directed the cooperative education program, familiarized her with the field and helped her create a niche where she feels her work can help make a difference.
“I had a good experience as a college student, and it was rewarding to finally choose the right career path. I wanted to help students figure out what to do with their careers, as well,” she said. “I thought it was an excellent career choice and I can be very confident in recruiting students to the field because I know they’ll have good career opportunities.”
Too humble to talk about her own accomplishments, Jones is more than happy to talk up the engineering program at Fullerton, but spreads the recognition around as widely as she can.
“It really takes everyone – faculty, staff, students – to put something like this together and make it work,” she said.
Dean Unnikrishnan is more pointed about what Jones has done to improve the program in the four years she’s been at Fullerton, crediting her with increasing enrollment into the program with aggressive campaigns and involvement in recruiting programs with professional industries in the local area.
” ‘No’ is not in the vocabulary of an engineer – only a delayed ‘yes.’ You have to have a can-do attitude and she has that,” he said. “She’s not an engineer, but she should be. She’s a natural fit with the college of engineering and computer science.”