Syracuse University Magazine


Ebony Jones

Architecture Ambassador

After going on a road trip with her parents to explore all the colleges she applied to on the East Coast, Ebony Jones ’15 chose Syracuse University because she liked the supportive atmosphere. “Syracuse was the only place I felt really welcome from the staff, my tour guide, and the people in the admissions office,” says Jones, a School of Architecture student from Levittown, Pennsylvania. “It’s like a second family.”

Now in her final year of the five-year program, Jones says she finds architecture challenging, but considers it a lifelong interest. Since she was little, she has been fond of buildings, recalling a first visit to Disney World with her family that got her especially excited. That trip inspired her to pursue architecture studies. “I will never create something like Disney World, but that really sparked my interest,” she says.

In spring 2013, Jones’s love of architecture led her to London after she received a highly competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, awarded by the U.S. Department of State to students traditionally underrepresented in study abroad programs. As part of the application process, Jones worked with the University’s Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (CFSA), receiving suggestions and recommendations. “Her application was well written and her goals clearly stated,” says Judith O’Rourke ’75, G’10, director of undergraduate studies and co-director of CFSA.  “Ebony’s academic work and involvement with the campus community are impressive. Obviously the Gilman Foundation felt the same way.”

Jones enjoyed her time in London, especially what she considered its relaxed pace. “They make time for themselves and their friends,” she says. “In America, we work so much, we rarely have time for our family. We are always rushing and always on the go. The culture is quite different.”

While abroad, Jones took core architecture classes, learned different design theories, and explored architecture on field trips, visiting historic sites and learning about them. “Our professors took us around and showed us a lot of things that we probably wouldn’t have seen from an architectural standpoint,” she says. “These trips were fantastic. London is diverse architecturally and absolutely amazing. I really enjoyed it.” In her spare time, Jones traveled to the Netherlands, Scotland, and France to experience various cultures and see more European architecture. “My semester in London literally changed my life,” she says. “I cannot even put into words how grateful I am that I was able to go.”    

On campus, Jones is one of the University 100 ambassadors, a select group of students who give prospective students and their families campus tours and participate in different events through the Office of Admissions. “Ebony has been very generous with her time, especially in talking to candidates for admission to Syracuse,” O’Rourke says. “She is a terrific representative of the University.” Jones says Syracuse felt like a second home when she came here, so she hopes to give visitors the same feeling. She also shares her own experiences on campus and abroad. “I love Syracuse,” she says. “I always tell people on my tour I’m really glad to be here. I honestly couldn’t see myself anywhere else.”

As graduation approaches, Jones is still considering her future. “I have not figured out what type of architecture I will do and which city I will live in,” she says, adding with a smile. “Maybe I will do architecture in London.”     —Shi Shi