For Lucedale, Mississippi, native and University of Mississippi senior Jaylin Jones, winning the Trepp Innovation Challenge and receiving a $10,000 grant to further his research was the culmination of support he received from faculty, fellow students and his family during his academic career.
“Going to college and being away from family pushed me outside my comfort zone and into a growth zone,” said Jones, a Stamps Scholar and member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. “My mom worked hard and supported our family by herself. That showed me that if she could do that, then I could do it for myself.
“Being here, I learned how to learn,” Jones said. “I feel like I took advantage of all the experiences being a Stamps Scholar and a member of the Honors College had to offer, and those helped me become a better person overall.”
The senior real estate major in the School of Business Administration focused his presentation for the Trepp Challenge on implementing 3-D printing into commercial real estate (CRE) construction to save money by reducing build times, labor expenses and carbon dioxide emissions.
“I had a lot of help in improving the presentation from several faculty members, some of whom were my professors and others whom I reached out to for their expertise,” said Jones.
“One of my business professors told our class about the competition and gave me feedback on my presentation,” Jones continued. “I got the idea for 3-D printing in construction from an Honors College class, and being a Stamps Scholar drilled into me how beneficial networking can be to finding people willing to help you.”
Trepp, a leading provider of data, insights and technology solutions to structured finance, commercial real estate and banking markets, held an inaugural Innovation Challenge in April. Jones was one of three finalists selected to present at the company’s headquarters in New York City, New York.
“Jaylin presented a well-thought-out argument about the uses and benefits of 3-D printing and how they could advance CRE,” said Erin Timko, Trepp’s director of academic and industry relations. “Based on the feasibility of the study presented and real-world examples provided, we are looking forward to Jaylin executing his business plan and seeing the positive impact he intends to make.”
Jones plans to attend the University of Texas at San Antonio for a master’s degree in real estate and finance in the fall and hopes to use the grant to continue his education and research on the use of 3-D printing in CRE.
“The panelists’ questions for me focused on next steps and trying to get me started on the process for furthering my research into that area of CRE,” Jones said. “I think my research could benefit and be used in CRE, and I could become an expert in this field.”
Jones credits his success at Ole Miss to the mentorship he received throughout college: “Whether it was the professors at the business school, the staff and faculty at the Honors College or my Stamps cohort members, I fully believe I wouldn’t have made it as far in this competition and with my overall success in college without the support from all of them.”
The Stamps Scholars Program, founded by E. Roe Stamps and his late wife, Penny, awards internationally prestigious scholarships based on academic excellence, leadership experience and exceptional character. The program awarded 247 scholarships this academic year to students at 31 partner institutions across the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Ole Miss has the second-largest collective of Stamps Scholars in the program.
“Receiving the Stamps scholarship was very validating for me because I earned it on my own merit,” said Jones. “It showed me that I could come from anywhere, be able to compete and win, and be anything I want to be.”
Honors College Dean Ethel Scurlock said Jones has been an exceptional member of the Honors student body and an asset to the community.
“We especially appreciate Jaylin’s intellectual sharpness, superb engagement and innovative ideas,” she said. “He is a tremendous scholar who would have excelled anywhere in the country, and I am thankful that private support from the Stamps family and Jim and Donna Barksdale helped us recruit and support this first-rate student.
“We are all made better because of Jaylin’s consistent pursuit of excellence.”
His college experience is also impacting how his younger siblings are thinking about their futures.
“My sister, especially, who is a junior in high school, is already getting her applications in,” Jones said. “She’s seen what’s possible and knows more about the process now that I’ve been through it, so she’s better prepared.
“The money, time and advice that went into helping me is also helping them,” he continued, “because they see the opportunities I’ve had.”
For information on supporting the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, contact Brady Bramlett, associate director of development, at email@example.com or 662-915-3081.
For information on supporting the School of Business Administration, contact Angela Brown, senior director of development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-3181.
By Mary Knight/UM Development