Jun 10, 2019
Christopher Jones
Second-year graduate student and US Navy veteran Christopher Jones (Nelson group) has been named a Tillman Scholar for the class of 2019.
 
Jones is among an elite group of only 60 national recipients selected from universities across the country for the 11th Tillman Scholar class. In recognition of their service, leadership and potential, the newly selected class will receive more than $1.3 million in scholarship funding to pursue higher education and continue their service in the fields of medicine, law, business, policy, technology, education and the arts.
 
After graduating from high school in 2003, Jones joined the U.S. Navy as an aviation electronics technician working in an F-18 squadron. He participated in several large-scale international training operations both stateside and in the Pacific. After four years of service, Jones separated from the Navy to pursue his bachelor’s degree in computer engineering at California State University, East Bay. After graduation, he went on to complete his Master’s Degree in chemical engineering at San Jose State University. In 2018, Jones joined the research group of Professor Hosea Nelson as a chemistry Ph.D. student where he conducts research on developing techniques to rapidly analyze and identify the structure of organic molecules and biological compounds. 
 
In October 2018, Jones was first-author on a preprint describing the application of a groundbreaking method to study organic compounds, which was downloaded an astounding 19,000 times in a 24-hour period. The previous download record for any preprint on ChemRxiv was 15,000 downloads over a six-month-period. Read more about it here.
 
 
 
“AS SCIENTISTS WE’RE NOT JUST TASKED WITH UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD, 
WE’RE TASKED WITH MAKING IT BETTER.”
 
CHRISTOPHER JONES, NAVY
University of California - Los Angeles Ph.D., Chemistry
 
Born and raised in upstate NY, Christopher enlisted in the U.S. Navy shortly after graduating high school as a way to travel the world and make a difference. During his enlistment, Christopher worked in an F-18 squadron as an aviation electronics technician. Here, he participated in several large-scale international training operations both stateside and in the Pacific. After four years of service, he decided to separate from the Navy in 2009 to pursue his bachelor’s degree in computer engineering at California State University, East Bay.
 
While an undergrad, Christopher wanted to apply his technical skills towards developing technologies critical to national security interests and obtained a research position with the Department of Energy at Sandia National Laboratories. It was here where he found a way to integrate his technical knowledge with his military experience to help identify unique scientific challenges our country faces both domestically and abroad. With his new-found passion for scientific research and discovery, Christopher went on to complete his Master’s Degree in chemical engineering at San Jose State University to further hone his technical and research skills.
 
Now, as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles, Christopher works on developing techniques to rapidly analyze and identify the structure of organic molecules and biological compounds. He hopes to one day use his research to develop technologies which can be deployed in the field to help military personnel quickly detect life-threatening chemical and biological agents present in the environment.
 
Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu