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Alumna Barber returns to Jones

Raegan Barber, a former Jones College student from Ellisville who attended from the fall of 2017 to the spring of 2018, is back as a part of the Jones family.

 Working as a success coach with student affairs, she is also working for the president of the college until May before she goes back to graduate school.  For the president, she is writing stories about alumni.

“We’re looking for alumni who have gone on to do incredible things or just have interesting stories and maybe publishing them later,” she said.

After graduating from Jones, Barber moved abroad, then earned a degree at Mississippi College, and now she is working at Jones.  

“When I graduated and did not really know what I wanted to do, I moved abroad for a while to teach English,” said Barber. “I lived abroad in London, studied there for a while through MC and knew I loved living overseas. I love the culture and always have liked being in a place where it is just a huge melting pot of different people. So, when I thought about moving back abroad, I thought of Prague, Czech Republic because it is a melting pot of different people, and since it’s so cheap everybody from all areas of the world can come and live there. Additionally, everyone can get a visa relatively easily.” 

Barber said she loved her experience teaching. At first, she wanted to teach high school, but once she attended Jones, she knew she wanted to teach college.  

“I did the Teaching English as a Foreign Language program and as an American, you don’t really realize we say so many things that are second nature to us that they don’t understand even if they know English by the book,” Barber said. “Teaching was funny and fun, and I enjoyed teaching our slang. I got to talk to them about my American experience growing up and seeing how different it was from their experience.”  

Barber wanted to further her education with graduate school. At Mississippi College, she talked to her professors about teaching in higher education. In graduate school she plans on obtaining a degree in literature specializing in British and Renaissance literature. 

She said Jones has changed a lot since she was a student here. 

 “COVID obviously changes things. I hear a lot of talk about virtual things, and when the mask mandate was lifted everybody was so excited about it,” she said. “I see a shift in staffing too. It is different not having those faculty members you used to see all the time, but all the people that are here now are also great, carrying on the legacy of people I knew.”  

Barber gives some tips to students for being successful and for finding opportunities in college as well as in the real world.  

“When it comes to success with Jones particularly, but with college in general, I would say talk to your professors,” she said. “They are there because they want to help students succeed. Reach out to them if at all possible. They want students to get to know them. I think that is a huge step in being successful because when you know them and they know you, there is a relationship there, and that is especially easy at Jones because it is a smaller school.” 

She said that students should find the best way to study that works for them. Some students may do better with note cards and some with videos.  

“I think we go into these boxes in high school of how to study and how to do things,” she said. “We’re all learning who we are; let’s learn how to do things as well.”  

She said the connections made with faculty can be helpful even after graduation because they want students to succeed not only at Jones, but in life.  

 “Don’t forget about the people you meet here, and when you move on from Jones keep in touch and reach out to them because you never know what opportunities can come in just making friends with people,” said Barber. 

Student Activities Director Ashliegh Allen said, “Raegan being in our office has offered such a fresh perspective on things. She’s lived in different parts of the world, and her experience with different cultures has been such an asset to our entire campus, but even more specifically to myself. I love having Raegan here!” 

by Erin Fairchild

Raegan Barber reads by the Vltava River in Prague, something she did every Saturday morning with her fellow teachers. 

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