Columbia native Kamara Jones thrives as US Well being and Human Companies public affairs official

The brand new principal deputy assistant secretary for public affairs on the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies has many mid-Missouri connections.

Kamara Jones was born and raised in Columbia, attending Blue Ridge Elementary Faculty, Derby Ridge Elementary Faculty, what was then Oakland Junior Excessive Faculty and Hickman Excessive Faculty, graduating in 2004.

She went on to earn her bachelor’s diploma in journalism from the College of Missouri and a grasp’s diploma in African American research from Ohio State College.

Her job entails “high-level messaging technique” and creating the technique throughout many communication platforms.

The messaging typically pertains to the federal government’s response to the pandemic.

“COVID is unquestionably a key precedence” of the company, Jones stated.

Kamara Jones

For the human providers a part of the company identify, it additionally focuses on serving to kids and households, together with with psychological well being and substance abuse, she stated.

Her schooling in Columbia was excellent, she stated.

“I had a number of the greatest academics you possibly can ever have,” Jones stated.

She listed Lou Thompson, second-grade trainer at Blue Ridge, and Ann Denney, third-grade trainer at Derby Ridge. Denney really useful Jones for the gifted program, and though she did not make the reduce, it modified how Jones considered herself.

Her confidence in her capacity to put in writing grew in Valerie Garton’s eighth-grade honors English class at Oakland, she stated.

Wanda Brown, her principal at Hickman, was a task mannequin, she stated.

“On the time, she was the primary Black principal of Hickman Excessive Faculty, and I regarded as much as her,” Jones stated. “She was sensible, savvy and classy. The whole lot I needed to be.”

At MU, journalism professor emeritus Scott Swafford oversaw her work on the Columbia Missourian.

“He is an outdated newspaper man and I imply that in probably the most admiring approach,” she stated.

Carol Anderson, former affiliate historical past professor, is her good good friend. Jones noticed her mind and expertise broaden in every of Anderson’s lessons, she stated. Anderson is now at Emory College.

“It is a checklist of people that have been life-changing,” Jones stated.

Her curiosity in journalism grew at Hickman, the place she was editor-in-chief of the varsity newspaper. She attended a journalism camp for minority college students at MU, and there Sara Agnew, former options editor on the Columbia Each day Tribune, requested her if she needed to work on the Tribune.

Jones began on the Tribune in the summertime of 2002 at age 16. Former managing editor Jim Robertson informed her she would get an actual wage and would do actual work, she recalled.

“Truthfully, my coronary heart was in my throat,” Jones stated of her summer time on the Tribune. “This was the large leagues.”

It allowed her to begin journalism college with skilled clips, she stated.

“You may simply construct on it,” she stated. “I say I began writing professionally at 16, and nobody can problem it. It actually modified my life.”

Former Tribune editorial cartoonist John Darkow was one other favourite particular person from her time on the Tribune, she stated.

Her job within the federal authorities is troublesome, however rewarding, she stated.

She informed a colleague if she walked within the constructing with a clear schedule within the morning, it will be full by the point she sat down.

“It’s totally demanding,” Jones stated. “It is by no means an eight-hour day. It’s totally busy. It is so much like reporting. There are some sleepless nights, eager to get issues proper.”

She’s the second-highest communications official on the federal company that employs 90,000 individuals and has a $1.7 trillion finances.

“It is a high-wire act, however I get pleasure from it and I am good at it,” she stated.

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This text initially appeared on Columbia Each day Tribune: Columbia helped put together HHS communications official Kamara Jones

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