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Tara Jones

Junior, marketing
College of Business

Tara Jones grew up in Kennesaw, Ga., and attended North Cobb Christian School for 13 years before coming to Auburn in 2010. During her freshman year, Jones was involved in Tiger Tuesdays, now called Freshman Leadership Programs, which led her to serve on the communications and marketing council in the Student Government Association for two years. She is currently a marketing major in the College of Business expecting to graduate May 2014 and is an ambassador for the Office of University Writing's ePortfolio Project. She is also the director of marketing for the Innovative Humanitarian Products Organization, a group of engineering students that makes handheld water purifiers and sends them around the world. This inspired her to become an advocate for ending the world's water crisis and she was recently elected Miss Auburn by the student body with this platform. Jones said she hopes to get Auburn more invested in solving the water crisis in the next year as the official hostess of the university.

1. Why did you decide to attend Auburn University?

I'm the daughter of an Auburn alum, so I grew up cherishing the school and its traditions. I always assumed I would attend Auburn until I received an offer from another school during my senior year of high school. After weeks of praying with my family, we felt that the Lord wanted me to go to Auburn. Looking back, it's cool to see how the Lord united my family and planned out my steps at Auburn.

2. You're very active within the SGA and were recently elected Miss Auburn. What motivates you to stay involved?

Being involved is a way to pursue what I'm passionate about right now even as a college student. My position in SGA allows me to put my marketing major into practice and create advertising and branding for more than 20 different student projects and initiatives. My involvement in the Innovative Humanitarian Products Organization stems from my passion for ending the world's water crisis and I've used my marketing knowledge to win the group a $5,000 grant which has funded water projects in Uganda, Rwanda, India and Guatemala. The ability to do what I love and make a difference on campus (or in the world!) is what keeps me involved.

3. What sparked your interest with the ePortfolio Project?

Everyone has a unique story to tell and that's what the ePortfolio Project is all about. One of my favorite parts about being a part of this project has been getting to see all the different learning happening across disciplines at Auburn. Being an ambassador, I got to peer review the ePortfolios of students in other majors, and it was fascinating to see how different a student's work is in each discipline. I realized there is no "cookie cutter" ePortfolio.

Personally, creating an ePortfolio helped me connect what I had learned by collecting and linking artifacts. Looking at my collection, I learned what I was truly interested in and what work I was really proud of. As a matter of fact, I had just returned from an internship when I became an ePortfolio ambassador. I was originally an accounting major, but when I began looking at my work and trying to articulate who I am in my "About Me" page, I soon realized how uncertain I was about my major and what I really loved to do. After I finished my first ePortfolio draft, I did in fact change my major to marketing.

The ePortfolio Project also taught me about audience and showcasing my skills to potential employers without compromising what makes me…me. I was excited to be a part of something that not only helps Auburn students in their future endeavors but also in defining their learning and their identity. ePortfolios often have the stigma for only being applicable to people with creative visual output, but Auburn sees them as a place to synthesize student experiences of any kind, benefiting all disciplines and giving students a differential advantage in the workplace.

4. What did your responsibilities include as an ePortfolio Project ambassador?

During my time as an ambassador, I participated in workshops that helped me create my own ePortfolio. I also recruited other students for ePortfolio workshops, helped advise the future implementation of the Project on campus and served on the search committee for the Assistant Director of University Writing for ePortfolios. I wanted to be an ePortfolio ambassador because I felt that this was an exciting project that Auburn University was taking on and I felt that having student voices in the process was an important part of the project's success.

5. How do you think your Auburn degree will benefit you after graduation?

Through all of these experiences as an Auburn student I have gotten to do what I love while applying what I learned, some examples being my ePortfolio experience and my experiences with the Miss Auburn campaign. While campaigning for Miss Auburn, I was reminded of how the university truly has benefitted me. I was able to connect what I learned from my marketing classes to the branding of the campaign, what I learned from my nonprofit studies class to the fundraising part of the campaign and what I have done with IHPO together into the platform that I ran on. These unique experiences gave me a taste of what I hope to do after graduation, and as George Petrie said, "I have the knowledge to work wisely and the hands to work skillfully, and that's something only Auburn can give me."

March 25, 2013