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When Desirae Jones arrived at Chico State as a freshman, she wasn't sure what she wanted to do. However she had a background in Baja racing and noticed there was a club on campus.
Jones, "I was just taking some GE's and getting kind of comfortable with the whole college lifestyle, and then I joined this club on campus, and I realized I really liked getting hands on. I kind of wanted to learn more about the car, not just driving the car, but actually how everything's built and processing."
Jones is now in her third year as the treasurer for the Baja Club and her experience there also caused her to major in sustainable manufacturing. The club and the major combine to provide a perfect mix for what she hopes to do, after graduation.
Jones, " I definitely see myself in automotive, preferably in aftermarket stuff, you know like suspension components, or even, I've kind of gotten a little bit more interested into material science kind of stuff, because of the plastics classes we take here."
However while it was racing cars that led Jones to engineering, it was racing on foot that ultimately led her to Chico State. A standout runner at Simi Valley High School, Jones was recruited by Wildcats Cross Country and Distance Coach, Gary Towne.
Jones, "I came up here and I fell in love with the place instantly. I knew as soon as I left, I wanted to come here. It's been a perfect fit, going to a competitive D2 where we're going to nationals every year and have that opportunity, that was amazing."
Speaking of which, this past fall Jones helped Chico State claim a top ten finish at the National Championships. She came in 63rd overall, out of 264 competitors, helping the Wildcats place 8th as a team. And the experience in freezing cold Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is one she'll never forget.
Jones, "It was brutal. It was like the hilliest course I've ever done, there was probably no flat parts, and it was pouring rain, and it was below 40 (degrees)."
Clearly though, Jones isn't one to give up. Between Baja, running, and school, she stays incredibly busy, but there's nothing she would change. And to younger girls who might think of following in her footsteps when it comes to engineering, she gives this advice.
Jones, "Definitely try it. A lot of people hype it up and kind of scare you away and everything, but it's definitely a fun major. If you enjoy building things, get exposed to it at a young age, it's so rewarding, it's such a perfect major."
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