Math is music to Lori Jones' ears

  • Tags: Faculty Profile | Newsletter
Published 09/09/2019

Lori Jones' mission is not just to teach students math as a path to their career goals, but learn how to use math as a lens to explore new ideas and inspire them to pursue their dreams.

Jones has been an adjunct instructor in mathematics at ECC for six years but started as a student in the 80s when she took art classes while still in high school. Today's ECC dual credit program would have been a help to Jones.

"I was allowed to take Drawing I and Design I with the agreement that I would not earn any credit since I was still in high school," said Jones. "One hilarious aspect of this is that, several years ago, I wanted to take a more advanced art class. I wasn't allowed to because I didn't have the prerequisites, which happen to be these two classes." 

Read on to learn more about Lori Jones.

In your words, what do you do at ECC? 

I hope that I motivate and inspire students to not only learn math and achieve their academic goals, but to be excited about exploring new ideas and seizing opportunities in whatever direction their life's path takes them. I hope some of my students realize math is beautiful. 

What is your greatest accomplishment since you've been here? 

I am running several pilot classes this fall and next spring. One is MATH-102-B, which covers the same content as any MATH-102, but I spend a little time reviewing the algebra required to grasp the statistics concepts. I built the modules based on the most common errors I have seen in MATH-102 over the years. Students have opportunities to use the tools we're learning to explore data that interests them. The other is MATH-102 Statistics for Healthcare, which has the same content as any MATH-102, but activity, lecture, quiz, and exam data is real healthcare data from around the world. Students have opportunities to use the tools we're learning to explore data within their healthcare discipline. 

What would you do if you were ECC president for a day? 

I would schedule an all college jam session. Even if you can't sing or play an instrument, you can clap or dance or pick up a shaker. Deaf people can feel the vibrations and rhythm. There is nothing quite like experiencing and sharing music with one another.

If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you? 

Me, of course.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work (i.e., hobbies/interests)? 

I love writing, playing, and recording music. My primary instruments are keyboards, but I also have an electric bass and a drum kit. I was classically trained as a child on piano, viola, and oboe. Every time you pick up a new instrument, you get new perspectives on every instrument you've ever played. I played in a progressive rock band for over a decade, and over the summer, I joined a Reggae band focused primarily on protest and social justice music from around the world. I also love all kinds of jazz, Afro-Cubismo, funk, and Latin and African styles. I love how recent generations are letting go of genre bias and appreciating all types of music and mixing it up. I came up with a version of Rush's Red Barchetta on the organ. I love the irony of a middle-aged woman on the organ covering a power-trio song about a car.

I also love to read science fiction and fantasy, philosophy, and all kinds of contemporary non-fiction. Some recent thought-provoking books I recommend are "Stamped from the Beginning" (Kendi), "Winners Take All" (Giridharadas), "Nomadland" (Bruder), and "How to Be an Antiracist" (Kendi).

I think it's great that comedians are tackling social justice issues. I enjoy watching foreign shows on Netflix with subtitles to get completely different perspectives on the world. Even though I don't understand all the jokes, comedy from all over the world is fascinating. One of my favorite shows is “Celia”, a telenovela about Cuban singer/performer Celia Cruz. At times the melodrama drove me crazy, but the story is intense, and the music is wonderful.

Where was the best place you've traveled? Or where would you like to visit? 

I've traveled all over the continental U.S. and been to Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, and the Bahamas and Netherlands. When I travel, I like to seek out the locals and avoid tourist areas. It's hard to decide, but I think my favorite travel experience was when I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Some locals invited me to a gathering at the hot springs in the national forest during a full moon.  

What's one fact we should know about you? 

I want to live in a world where everyone is empowered to be the best person they can be by their own choice.

What's something about your job that others should know? 

My schedule is just as challenging as yours.

What would be your "theme song?" 

I wrote a song called "Live What You Love." That is my theme song.

What was your favorite class in school (could be elementary, high school or college)? 

I had a social studies class in junior high that I didn't love, but I reflect on it all the time. The teacher forecast that, by the time I was his age, people would be buying water in bottles. He told us about the greenhouse effect and the origins of the theory of global warming.

What was your first job out of school? 

It was driving a delivery truck for a company that deposited thin, film metallic coatings on machine tooling through physical vapor deposition. I was a student at ECC at the time. Twenty years later, I was the top on-site management for this company.

What quote best describes your philosophy? 

Never attribute to malice that which can be reasonably accounted for by ignorance.

Complete this sentence: "I enjoy working at ECC because … "

The people are wonderful!