US Presidential Fellow to Visit Stanford to Study Biochemical Engineering
Eric Jones was recently named the 2021 U.S. Presidential Fellow, an honor that crowns a legacy of achievement at Destrehan High School.
Jones, who graduated from DHS in 2021, will travel to Stanford University in the fall to study biomechanical engineering on a pre-med track. He said the move across the country would have minimal impacts on his strong family relationships.
“Distance doesn’t mean anything in this family,” Jones said with a laugh. “I’m sure there will be a lot of Zoom and FaceTime calls.”
Jones said the decision as to which college he would attend was difficult, especially as the acceptance letters started to arrive.
“I remember getting my first one,” he said of the letters. “I remember feeling like, ‘I finally made it… I’m finally going to college.’ Then I started to realize that I had a lot of options.
Jones’s plethora of options has been made possible by his dynamic set of academic accomplishments. He was not only the Student of the Year at Destrehan High School, but also the Student of the Year at St. Rose and Albert Cammon Elementary School.
“Eric has always been someone who impressed others at school,” Jones elementary school counselor Katie Gabriel said. “His manners and attitude towards the school curriculum and his classmates in elementary school was always something people noticed. Eric never let any of the hardships he endured be an excuse; he used them as fuel to set his mind on fire.
“In elementary school, when I was in fifth grade, my father passed away,” he said. “From there, I remember being in a family of six… I have five siblings and my dad was the breadwinner… it was hard to adjust to his absence. I was able to use it to fire myself and continue. This is how life is, but you have to keep pushing.
Jones said one of the main factors in her success was her mother’s well-being.
“I just want to be able to take care of her when I’m older,” he said. “I had the passion to always do my best in class. “
Jones dove into the extracurriculars in college.
“I remember in college I was looking for more activities to do outside of school that would differentiate me from everyone else,” he said. “One of my volunteer experiences was at the St. Rose Nursing Home, and being in the care environment increased my interest in medicine.
Jones began participating in medical-focused summer programs and quickly set his sights on a career in this field.
In DHS he played football with the Destrehan Fighting Wildcats and was a Wildcat Mentor, Interact Club Member, Beta Club Vice President of Fundraising, National Honor Society Vice President, Secretary of the Board of administration of the student council and advocate of the Superintendent’s Advisory Council.
His involvement in the community has included volunteering with the Second Harvest Food Bank and the Children’s Hospital Adolescent Ambassador Program, as well as as a community advocate with the Bayer Community Advisory Group.
With his insatiable appetite for learning and his desire to broaden his perspective, Jones has participated in several summer learning programs including: Duke TIP 2017 for Brain, Intelligence, and Creativity; Duke TIP 2018 for Algebra II; Envision Program for Advanced Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, 2018; Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston; National Youth Leadership Conference for Neuroscience and Psychology at Harvard Medical School, Advanced Medicine and Healthcare Seminar, Orthopedic Course Certificate – The Future Doctors Academy, and Introduction to the Experience of engineering design from Tulane University. He also followed a neurosurgeon at the children’s hospital.
Jones, who plays the violin and is certified in CPR, has many notable academic achievements and skills. He is a Patrick F. Fellow of the Horatio Alger Association State Fellow, Gates Fellow, Ron Brown Fellow and Semifinalist of National Merit.
Jones said he enjoyed his time at DHS and attributes his success to the faculty and staff at the school, as well as the multitude of clubs on offer.
“There are so many things to enjoy in Destrehan,” he said. “If I were somewhere else, I wouldn’t be as successful. I am just very grateful and very lucky to be able to have the success that I am doing. I wouldn’t be able to do this without my faith, my family, and my support system.
Tameka Green, former principal of Albert Cammon Middle School, said Jones sets goals, watches the prize and doesn’t give up.
“Eric Jones is a true leader who sets an example and proves that you can be both a scholar and an athlete,” she said. “He’s disciplined and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Eric understands that life is a compilation of good decisions and does his best to make them one day at a time, and I know he will use his gifts and talents to serve our world well.
Jones said the cornerstone of his success is his faith.
“Faith was instilled in me from a young age and because of that, I have a strong relationship with God,” Jones said. “Without him, none of this would be possible. “