Constance Colon-Jones Uses
Life Experiences In Evolving Service Career
Windsor, N.J. - With Spanish as her primary language as a
youngster, the first assignment for native New Yorker Dr.
Constance Colon-Jones '77 (A.S., Business Administration)
was to master English, the spoken language of most of her
classmates. She absorbed it quickly and over the years has
helped other non-native speakers with this most critical skill
for personal and career success. Yet, that is only a small
example of Colon-Jones' impact on the lives of others.
Her road to success has been a circuitous one. Launching her
career as an executive administrative assistant in Manhattan,
Colon-Jones ultimately became an academician whose main focus
was to help students break down professional and cultural
barriers. "Every single initiative I have been involved
in has been labor intensive, but very joyful," she said.
"I have made career decisions based on personal and professional
aspirations. It's been a fruitful outcome."
worked full time during her first experience as a college
student in the mid-60s, when she attended the City University
of New York. "I had no other option but to pay my own
way through college," she said. Working for a Fortune
500 company proved a good complement to her schooling, as
she learned about the culture of corporate America. After
marrying, Colon-Jones and her husband moved first to northern
New Jersey and then to East Windsor. She enrolled at MCCC
in 1974 and felt right at home.
of my professors were highly knowledgeable," Colon-Jones
recalls. "I was impressed with them. They made me think
back to my days when I tutored non-native speakers in my neighborhood.
I wanted to teach from that point on."
As a Mercer student, Colon-Jones immersed herself in issues
dear to her. As a young mother juggling work and responsibilities
on the home front, she served as vice president of the Council
for the Student Mothers' Daycare Center, which operated at
that time on the West Windsor campus. Tackling childcare issues
and creating opportunities for students' professional development
and advancement were at the top of her list.
One of Colon-Jones' early career high points came in 1979
when she was appointed by then Governor Brendan Byrne to serve
on the New Jersey Commission on the Status of Women, where
she played a critical role in examining and advocating for
the needs of women in New Jersey and beyond.
Colon-Jones was also intent on continuing her education. She
transferred to the College of New Jersey, earning a bachelor's
degree in Business and Education and Languages in 1983 and
a master's degree in English Linguistics with a specialization
in Educational Foundations in 1988. She added certifications
to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) and to Teach English
to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). While in school, she
taught English and business at area schools and also worked
as a private tutor.
Relocating to Central Pennsylvania, Colon-Jones continued
to pursue her education, earning her institutional doctoral
equivalency in Communication from Penn State University. She
joined the Penn State faculty in the College of Communications,
where she taught and advised students, and developed and implemented
a language laboratory. She also developed programming for
an social service agency that addressed the needs of non-native
As she reflects on her wealth of experiences, Colon-Jones
sees them all as a motivational force for the new direction
her life has taken. A South Carolina resident for the past
10 years - and clearly not ready for retirement - she serves
as an independent consultant and as a lay minister in the
Roman Catholic Church. She is an active member of the American
Association for University Women and continues to publish
books, among other activities on her busy schedule.
Colon-Jones encourages MCCC students to do a personal inventory
about what makes them tick in order to plan for a satisfying
and productive future. "I am a prime example of an evolving
self," Colon-Jones maintains. "Look at yourself
and your environment. Seek a good mentor and set goals that
motivate you. You can make things happen."
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