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Jones Selected As Distinguished Service Award Winner


JONESBORO – Arnelle Jones of Osceola is one of eight outstanding students who received a 2017 Distinguished Service Award (DSA) at Arkansas State University. She was honored at a recognition dinner, Thursday, April 27, at 6 p.m. at the Cooper Alumni Center.

The DSA acknowledgement comes during A-State’s Convocation of Scholars, an annual celebration of academic achievement that includes college and departmental awards and recognition events.

The Distinguished Service Award winners are recognized as the institution’s most-outstanding graduates because of their leadership, scholarship and citizenship. Faculty, staff, advisers to student organizations and other members of the campus community submit nominations for these prestigious awards.

All of the nominees have provided countless hours of service to the community, their classmates, their departments and colleges and to Arkansas State University. A committee comprised of students, faculty, staff and past Wilson Award recipients makes the final selections.

Sandra Combs, associate professor of multimedia journalism production and adviser of A-State’s student newspaper, The Herald, nominated Jones. Jones is a communication studies major and will graduate in May with a grade point average of 3.97. She carries a minor in Spanish.

Jones was recently selected from over 10,000 applicants nationwide as one of the Fulbright grant recipients from Arkansas State. She will also spend 10 months as an English teaching assistant in Manizales, Caldas, in Colombia.

Jones is the recipient of an A-State Scholar Award each semester since fall 2013. Also, she has been on the Chancellor’s List and the Honors Director’s List every semester during that time span. Jones received the Governor’s Scholar Award, and an Academic Challenge Lottery Scholarship since 2013.

Her honors senior thesis is titled “Breaking the Dichotomy: A Study on How Gender-Neutral Language Can Impact Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Individuals.”

Jones has been the president of the Arkansas State Association of Black Journalists since 2015, and has held membership in the organization since 2013. She has been involved heavily with projects including Labor Day Luau that provides students who cannot go home on Labor Day the opportunity to spend time with others. She also helped with “Gathering on the Green,” “Keeping Black History Relevant Film Festival,” the “Fall Explosion” (hosted by the Black Students Association for minority organizations), and fundraising through the Salvation Army for the Angel Tree program.

Additionally, she worked with a breakfast food and cereal drive that provides breakfast food items for the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas and represented Arkansas State at the Region III conference of the National Association of Black Journalism in Nassau, the Bahamas.

As a member of the Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society, Jones is the recruitment director. The society is the largest foreign language honor society and the only Spanish honor society that is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies. This organization’s purpose is to promote the learning of the Spanish language and celebrate the Spanish culture. The society also hosted a Spanish conversation table.

Jones is a staff writer for The Herald, and concentrates on news and opinion content. She has won regional awards for her writing, including second place during the 2016 Arkansas College Media Association Awards for her story “NYIT Medical School Moves Forward,” (also won in 2017) and four national awards for Sigma Delta Pi “Rises From the Ashes.”

In addition to her writing experience, Jones worked as an assistant program director for the student-run online radio station, Red Wolf Radio.

A key member of Arkansas State’s award-winning Moot Court and the debate team, Jones competed in several International Parliamentary Debate Association (IPDA) competitions in both individual and team debate formats.

Other achievements and accomplishments include participating in the Make-A-Wish Bucket Brigade fundraising campaign, working as a student ambassador for the Department of Media and Communication, a pack leader for A-State Red Wolves to assist incoming freshmen, and as reciter for A-State’s all day poetry café.

She is a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta honor society, The A-State Office of Global Initiatives conversation partner and TRIO Student Support Services.