Devon Jones headshots

Devon Avrigian Jones

Science Communication Fellow
Middle School Science Teacher
Kirkwood Middle School

Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?

As an educator for 15 years, I discovered that the best way to lead my students is to be the lead learner. Spending time in third, fourth, and fifth grade, I found my true calling teaching sixth-grade Science. Science opens so many doors to inquiry and wonder and that is exactly how I try to capture my students. From earth systems to ocean currents, to biomes and weather, I love exploring science with my students and helping them in developing a passion for inquiry and a love for learning through the natural world around us. Being able to show my students that learning is joyful and rewarding means I can help them establish a true love of learning and grow them to be lifelong learners themselves.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

From the age of six months, all I've ever known was nature. Growing up and living aboard a boat meant that I had experiences that were unlike my peers; travel, nature, engineering, and of! Inquiry about everything consumed my daily life as a child and with the guidance and support of my parents, I left no rock unturned. Everything ocean became my biggest passion and I indulged in every National Geographic magazine and marine mammal book I could find. When I married and moved to landlocked TN, I wondered how I could continue to pursue the passion that I had for the ocean and science. If I could no longer live it, I could teach others about it and this is how education became my next passion.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

The biggest influences in my life have always been my parents. Always encouraging me to wonder and pushing me to become a "how-to" thinker, my parents never slowed down my passion and desire to learn about the ocean and the world. By spending our weekends out on the water or hiking through the forest, I was guided by their support and belief that the world was a mystery waiting to be solved. Waiting for Mutual Of Omaha's Wild Kingdom to come on tv and turning the pages of National Geographic magazines together, they truly fostered my love of learning and encouraged me to ask questions and find answers. They definitely were my first teachers.

What element of your work/study do you think is the most fascinating?

The most fascinating element of my work is watching students have the "light bulb" moments while I'm teaching and then see them fill with excitement when they can articulate in their own words their learning. It's the best feeling seeing them leave class with smiles because they have a true understanding and can connect the content I'm teaching to the relevance in their own life. It's a true feeling of success for both of us.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

I have had many wonderful opportunities to learn about the ocean by living on the ocean. Growing up in the Florida Panhandle, I was at the beach and in the Gulf of Mexico with every opportunity I could find. This led me to research animal species and develop a passion for marine mammals. As a teen, I got a job working at a marine park where I was able to care for a variety of species of animals and educate the public. When I decided to become an educator, I knew that I could relate all aspects of my teaching to my love of the ocean, so when I taught about food chains, it was marine, energy and transformations, it was marine, biomes...yep, marine. I've been able to foster my love of all things marine to students who have not yet had the experience of seeing it's beauty and that keeps me motivated and happy.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Currently, I hold degrees of Associate of Science-Austin Peay State University 2006, Bachelor of Science in Disciplinary Studies-Austin Peay State University 2009, Masters of Art in Education-bethel University 2012 and Specialist in Education-Arkansas State University 2016

What are your hobbies?

I love being on the water and in the water, traveling, and spending time with my family. As a grandmother of twelve, I stay busy!

What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?

I encourage anyone to follow their passion and go after their dreams. Do something you love doing and then share that passion and wonder through your own experiences and daily living. When others see you living your best life, you encourage them to do the same.

How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?

I got involved with Ocean Exploration Trust when I stumbled across an email. After reading about the program and what it had to offer, I was excited at the thought that I could be a part of such an opportunity. I immediately filled out the application and then waited anxiously to hear back. In the meantime, I continued to research previous expeditions and learn about the mission of Ocean Exploration Trust, hoping that I would get to be a part of something so awesome.


Devon participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: