Pathway to Professional Careers Student Receives JoAnne Day Student of the Year Award Student Profile
Meet Minnie Jones '23
- Mechanical Engineering
- Civil Engineering Technology
- April 2023
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- High School
- Baldwin High School
- Now Living In
- Brentwood, Pa.
- Dream Job
- Honestly I don't think I have just one at this point, but whatever it is, versatility, design and problem-solving are key components of what I would like to do.
- Hobbies & Interests
- Theatre, violin, woodworking, writing music, poetry and short stories, being a dog mom, excessive planning and organizing and binge-watching the entire "Power Rangers" series
"By the time I leave Point Park, I plan to have obtained my honors associate’s degree in civil engineering technology from CCAC and my bachelor’s in mechanical engineering with a minor in civil engineering technology from Point Park. I also plan to do the 4+1 program to obtain my master’s in engineering management. If I am able to accomplish this, then I will be able to obtain my career goal of having a variety of careers to pursue. As long as my career incorporates versatility, design and problem-solving, life will be grand."
The Pathway to Professional Careers program, a cooperative education partnership between Point Park University and CCAC, provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to gain real-world, paid work experience while earning up to 12 credits toward their degree.
Minnie Jones is enrolled in the program and will transfer to Point Park this fall to pursue a mechanical engineering degree. She recently received the JoAnne Day Student of the Year Award for her undergraduate accomplishments. In the Q&A below, learn about the benefits she is seeing from the program's unique hybrid of education and real-world experience.
What does it mean to you to receive the JoAnne Day Student of the Year Award?
It's all pretty surreal to me. I believe there are three things that I can take away from this experience. With this award, along with anything else I've been able to accomplish, the magnitude of the accomplishment never really registers with me until I see the reactions of others. I'm not sure how I was selected, but I thought it was pretty cool to get a couple extra dollars to help out with school, the plaque would look cool above my desk and it might look good on my resume. It wasn't until I saw the article on the CCAC website, the amount of attention it got on LinkedIn and Facebook and the number of times I've been asked to interview about it that I started to think it might be bigger than I initially thought.
Secondly, receiving this award has enabled me to show myself and those who may have considered me less than because of my race, gender and financial difficulties that I am capable of succeeding despite it all.
Lastly, being able to serve as an example for those who look like me or come from the same type of family or socioeconomic background is one of my biggest takeaways from both pursuing a STEM-related education and winning this award.
What factors made you choose Point Park and the Pathway to Professional Careers program?
When I was initially introduced to Cara Fulton with the Pathway to Professional Careers program, I had no idea what my future looked like. I knew at the time I didn't want to transfer back to the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, but didn't know where I wanted to go. After listening to Cara explain the program and finding out that Point Park actually had an engineering program, it just felt right.
You interned with PJ Dick, Trumball and Lindy Paving last summer. What did you do, and what did you learn from the experience?
I took part in Partner4Work’s Learn and Earn corporate internship program. The first week consisted of a virtual Zoom orientation with a cohort of around 30 college students. We received professional development training, met with several industry professionals and prepared to start working at our various placements.
The second week served as another orientation week with PJ Dick. I worked in the office learning in-depth information about the company and its history. There was some downtime that week, so I took advantage of that time by setting up meetings with several of PJ Dick’s employees from almost every department. I was able to learn even more about the company, the individual’s educational and professional paths and received advice and guidance for my current internship along with my future career.
On June 29th, I celebrated my 21st birthday by finally arriving at my project sites. PJ Dick took on two redevelopment projects in the Strip District – 1600 Smallman and the Produce Terminals – both of which I was able to participate in and learn from.
I shadowed project managers by attending various meetings with the owners, architects, subcontractors and project executives. I was able to ask questions about the construction process from start to finish and see what their day-to-day operations looked like.
I worked closely with project engineers. I completed in-depth site surveys for off-site subcontractors to price additional work, project-managed the installation of bike racks at the Produce Terminals; created construction progress reports, utilized different construction and project management software to view and update site drawings and more. Through this experience, I was able to improve my organizational and leadership skills, gain hands-on experience, get an in-depth understanding of the construction process, receive advice and guidance regarding both academic and professional careers and grow my professional network.
What have you gained from participating in the Pathway to Professional Careers program?
First and foremost, I gained an amazing mentor and career coach who has helped me through several tough decisions pertaining to my educational experience and helped sculpt my current path. Secondly, the introduction to Partner4Work's Learn and Earn program – which is how I was able to obtain my 2020 summer internship at PJ Dick – is solely credited to my participation with the Pathways program. Lastly, valuable career preparation, from refining my LinkedIn account to goal setting, is what I gained from participating in the program.
You have dual enrollment in a Point Park class this semester. What do you like about being able to start taking classes at Point Park as you finish up at CCAC?
As a part of the Pathway to Professional Careers Program, the business career prep course is required before transferring to Point Park. I like the fact that I'm able to get a feel for how Point Park operates and form connections with peers prior to my official transfer.
What most excites you about transferring to Point Park in the fall?
I'm excited to continue my degree, but most importantly, I'm excited to get the four-year college experience. I'm also excited to get involved with the different types of student organizations at Point Park.
What are your career goals?
By the time I leave Point Park, I plan to have obtained my honors associate’s degree in civil engineering technology from CCAC and my bachelor’s in mechanical engineering with a minor in civil engineering technology from Point Park. I also plan to do the 4+1 program to obtain my master’s in engineering management. If I am able to accomplish this, then I will be able to obtain my career goal of having a variety of careers to pursue. As long as my career incorporates versatility, design and problem-solving, life will be grand. I would also like to start a scholarship for students like me so they don't have to take a break from school due to financial reasons, in addition to donating to the numerous nonprofits in Pittsburgh that address the arts, diversity and inclusion.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I owe all of my success to God and the people He placed in my life.