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Hawk's Eye View: Erica Jones '96

Erica Jones

October 20, 2022 | Krissy Vick

Erica Jones ’96 grew up in a small, close-knit coastal community in Pamlico County (NC) before continuing her education at UNCW. She followed the footsteps of several community members and forged a path ahead for future Seahawks.

In addition to her own family legacy at UNCW, which includes a sister and cousins, she married into a UNCW family. Her husband, Stanley Jones ’99, is also a graduate, along with several of his siblings, nieces and nephews.

“There are so many, we could truly have our own alumni reunion,” Jones said. “It’s an honor to be a part of and create a legacy of learning at UNCW.”

Beyond family, Jones’s influence extends far and wide through her ever-evolving professional career, her devoted work with the UNCW Alumni Association and her generous philanthropic contributions within the Wilmington community and beyond.

As an undergraduate, Jones worked in the Office of the Dean of Students for the late Vice Chancellor Pat Leonard and studied to become a criminal attorney. After graduation, she worked as a personal injury and medical malpractice paralegal. Within those jobs, she discovered a passion for research and medical discovery. As a result, Jones has worked for more than two decades in various clinical, project management and leadership roles, and currently serves as an executive director for Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Erica Jones

“What excites me every day is that we [Thermo Fisher Scientific] remain committed to bringing life-changing therapies to patients in many therapeutic indications,” Jones said. My current role focuses on the people behind the successes by ensuring a focus on their training, growth and development. Knowing I contribute to improving their experiences brings me job satisfaction each day.”

At UNCW, Jones is serving a second three-year term on the Alumni Board of Directors. She credits this role for expanding her understanding of the needs of the university as well as how to influence fellow alumni to commit to giving back to UNCW through time, money or other volunteer efforts. As a Black female on the board, Jones also stresses the importance of diverse representation to better support the needs of all students and graduates.

Leading by example, Erica and Stanley have spearheaded several efforts, including establishing the Sarah F. Jones Scholarship, named for Stanley’s mother, to support minority students with financial needs to continue their college journey. The Joneses have also hosted parties and events during UNCW Homecoming weekends to engage alumni and raise funds for the Student Relief Fund, the Sarah F. Jones Scholarship and other diversity scholarships.

“Increasing diversity on campus is another passion of mine. Working professionally in a global environment, I have the privilege to partner with colleagues from around the world. It has opened my eyes to new experiences, cultures and ideas, and has developed me into a more empathetic leader. We learn from each other every day."

If we can integrate this idea of learning and partnering with each other at the college level, we produce graduates who are more prepared to make a positive inclusive impact in the workplace."

Her favorite Seahawk memory so far is traveling with the UNCW Gospel Choir to recruit students and showcase diversity at the university.

Jones’s impact also extends through her participation with Women Inspiring Networking, Giving Back, and Social Awareness (WINGS), a group of women who pool their resources, skills and talents for philanthropic projects. WINGS has supported women and children locally in North Carolina as well as internationally in Liberia and the Dominican Republic.

“I take responsibility to create a pathway of opportunity for my family, community and others who wish to follow,” Jones said.

“The path that I set for myself changed along the way. I hope I have modeled for my family that hard work, willingness to transfer your skills and flexibility in life’s process can lead to great opportunities.”