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Mentor Spotlight: Dr. Anand Gupta and Christina Jones ’19

Christina Jones’ acceptance into the inaugural cohort of JCSU McNair Scholars program was a leap toward her goal of earning a Ph.D. in a STEM discipline. Cheering her through the many steps leading up to that accomplishment is her mentor, Dr. Anand Gupta.

Dr. Gupta, who is the faculty laboratory coordinator for the Department of Natural Science and Mathematics, noticed Jones’ dedication early.

“She was a student of mine in a class, and a very good student. Always on time, never absent, always engaged. She always asked questions after class and would come to my office hours for help,” Gupta said. “She’s very inquisitive, she follows up, and is reliable. Of course she earned an A.”

When Jones approached him about the McNair Scholars, she was already working at Davidson College for a summer research program. He was more than happy to write her recommendation letter.

During the Spring of 2018, she was one of 26 students chosen to be accepted into the first cohort of the McNair Scholars Program at JCSU. She presented research entitled “Effects of colored light on Phenotypic growth in the fruit fly,” which she conducted with Gupta.

Jones, a biology major with a minor in chemistry, is thankful for this strong mentoring bond.

“Dr. Gupta allowed me to come by his office or email him whenever I needed help with something, and was extremely helpful every time. He also helped me get opportunities outside of campus,” Jones said. “This has given me the advantage of being able to apply my experience to the methods used in other labs.”

The McNair Scholars Program is helping her push new ideas and shape the path to her career. Upon graduation, Jones hopes to attend a Ph.D. or M.D program and become a pediatrician. She encourages her fellow Smithites to investigate the resources available during their undergraduate years and to seek help from JCSU faculty members, who are here to help and support them through their goals. 

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