Dr. Elva Jones is professor and chairman of the Department of Computer Science, of the College of Arts and Sciences, at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU). Her entire career has been centered on exposing under-represented minorities to computing and preparing them for computing careers.
“It is a tremendous honor for me to be included the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology list,” said Jones. “Computing has been such a captivating field for me that I never tire of the work and the discovery each day brings. I want as many students as possible to experience the joy of idea discovery, creative design, and technology integration.”
Jones has focused her teaching, research and outreach in two areas: analysis and visualization of NASA data and Robotics as a tool to attract African American students to the field of computer science.
Jones was selected to be a NASA JOVE Faculty Fellow, and twice received the JOVE Research Award for her research in Space Science data retrieval. A complement to her work in space science data retrieval is the numerous outreach summer Space Science Camps provided for middle and high school students. Additionally, she served on the NASA SEMMA Program Advisory Committee, and has served on the NC Space Grant Consortium Executive Board since 1996.
Her most resent research has been in the area of robotics and computer science education. Jones’ goal is to increase the number of underrepresented minorities who earn graduate degrees and ultimately pursue academic careers in computing. Her work is supported by the NSF funded ARTSI (Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact) Alliance.
She is the founding chair of the Department of Computer Science, a natural progression from teaching the first courses in computing at WSSU, developing the first concentration in computer science, leading the development of the major program in computer science, leading the development of the Master of Science program in computer science and information technology and the BS in information technology, and most recently leading the development of an option in information security for the computer science program.
Dr. Jones has committed her life to giving back. She devotes a great deal of time to sponsoring programs to benefit young people and serving on boards whose mission is to support the public good, including: the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce-Technology Council, the Forsyth County Juvenile Justice Council, the UNC Math and Science Education Network (MSEN) State Advisory Board, Governor Hunt’s Science and Technology Advisory Board, Atkins Technology High School Advisory Committee, Association for Departments of Computer Science and Engineering at Minority Institutions (ADMI) Executive Board, and the Delta Fine Arts Board of Directors.