Meet Rebekah Jones
Hometown: Hollis, NY
College: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Major: Developmental Sociology
Senior Rebekah Jones is a member of the Rawlings Cornell Presidential Research Scholars (RCPRS) program who is studying Developmental Sociology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Over the course of her Cornell experience, Rebekah has embarked on an intellectual journey that has fed her curiosity and passion, and led her to the world of research. For as long as she can remember, she has been interested in incarceration studies. But, it was not until she became a Teaching Assistant (TA) at Opportunities, Alternatives, and Resources of Tompkins County—an Ithaca-based organization that advocates for, and assists, people incarcerated in the Tompkins County Jail— that she understood the way stigmas and caricatures of the formerly incarcerated dehumanize this population and skew the way they are treated.
This experience of TA-ing allowed Rebekah to further conceptualize the effects and injustices of the criminal justice system. Moreover, she emphasizes that this type of experience in the community is more available than many Cornellians might think. There are numerous resources such as Cornell’s Public Service Center and Engaged Cornell that provide ample opportunities for Cornell Students to use their talents and passions to bring about broader societal good in communities all over the world.
Rebekah’s utilization of these resources and her participation in RCPRS have helped her explore her research interests in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Columbia. For instance, as a RCPRS-er, Rebekah received support to conduct research in Chile with Cemipre Fundacion, an organization that teaches blind disability services. While there, she got to interview a great deal of the organization’s participants regarding their opinions on recent legislation aimed at incorporating those with low and no vision into Chile’s political sphere. In addition to learning about political participation patterns, Rebekah’s work at Cemipre allowed her to better understand the experiences of the visually-impaired and blind in Chile.
One piece of advice she has for new and future RCPRS members is to construct a group of good mentors that can help guide one’s undergraduate career because the “reality is that the first draft of anything you do will likely be bad,” and having an encouraging group of mentors can provide you with advice that helps you move through the uncertainty and trials of research.