By Kasy Long
Feb 27, 2023
Jabrea Jones is a recognizable face on Indiana State University’s campus. She can be found attending sports games, music performances, student engagement events, and many other activities. She’s everywhere – and she helps promote and report on these events for the campus community through Sycamore Video, a student-run news program and interview show.
The senior political science and business management student has always been interested in media production. However, she didn’t intend to join Sycamore Video. During her freshman year at Indiana State, Jones attended an introductory meeting for Student Media [Indiana State’s group of student media organizations], met some friends, and, as she says, “Sycamore Video found me.”
The rest is history.
The Sycamore, who is from Baltimore, Maryland, has held many positions in the student media group, from news director to general manager and now promotions manager. She has appeared in front of the camera as an anchor and interviewer, as well as assigned stories to other student members of Sycamore Video.
“I enjoy the freedom to be creative [at Sycamore Video]. We cover the stories we hear about on campus. I have loved being an anchor and hosting shows because you have to think on your feet, which is a rewarding skill I’ve learned,” she says.
Working for Sycamore Video enables Jones to be aware of everything going on around her, including political and social issues affecting today’s college students. As a political science major, she is interested in public policy, women’s rights, and civil rights as it applies to Black Americans.
Political science majors at Indiana State take a solid foundation of courses spanning several areas of American and world politics. With the support of their professors, students complete research projects covering subjects from public law and American politics to international affairs.
In addition, the Department of Political Science encourages students to participate in the American Democracy Project [ADP], a multi-campus initiative that engages students in democratic life. Students participate in campus-sponsored events and programming, field trips, and other engagement, including developing and implementing the Campus Vote Plan. Together, ADP students’ voices are heard as they work at the center of electoral and democratic engagement on campus.
That’s why Indiana State has been repeatedly recognized as one of the most engaged campuses for student voting. Students help host voter registration drives, presidential debate parties, State of the Union Tweet-Ups, local candidate forums, guest speakers, campus marches, and more events.
Indiana State’s political science program is enhanced through internships, study abroad opportunities, and field study trips to Washington D.C., and other politically relevant destinations. During the summer of 2022, Jones completed an internship for the Maryland Department of Transportation, in which she worked in the Office of Human Resources and Workforce Development.
Jones’s education in political science, combined with business management, has prepared her for leadership roles on campus and for her future in a graduate school program. Her political science courses have shaped her perspectives on public policies, as well as the social and political climates affecting young adults like herself.
“I’ve always been interested in social justice and the government. I’m influenced by what’s going on in the world,” she says. Jones hopes someday to hold elected office in her home state of Maryland. “The political science department has prepared me for opportunities beyond the department and my studies. They’ve introduced me to alumni who provide advice on what I need to know for my future career.”
The Sycamore has extended her leadership in many groups and organizations across Indiana State’s campus. This includes being a Residential Assistant on campus and taking on leadership roles through the Student Government Association [SGA]. She has advocated for inclusive excellence, particularly creating campus programs for students of color, LGBTQ+, and other groups.
Jones has also volunteered for campus-sponsored walks, including a diversity awareness walk and a walk for suicide prevention. She hopes to participate in more volunteer work before she graduates.
“It’s important to get involved on campus. These campus groups and volunteer work help you make friends, but you also learn valuable skills you can use for internships and your future careers,” Jones explains. She has engaged with other students at events through the Students African American Sisterhood [SAAS] organization and has met numerous people from diverse backgrounds on campus.
“There is a strong community on campus. It’s vibrant and social. You can move away from home and you might meet people who aren’t like you at all, and then there are people who share similar interests. You meet all kinds of people. You find your home away from home,” she shares.
As she approaches the final months of her time as an undergraduate student, Jones knows what she will miss the most about Indiana State: The people.
“I’m here and hanging out with friends, whether we’re planning an event, covering an event for Sycamore Video, or having fun, I’m thinking about how much I’m going to miss this community,” Jones expresses. “I’m thinking about the impact I might have made on campus. At least, I hope I’ve made an impact.”
Jones has nothing to worry about. Whether she’s in front of the camera for Sycamore Video or supporting others as a member of campus organizations, she has left her mark at Indiana State. Because real advocates wear BLUE!