GMS Staff Spotlight: Patty Jones

Patty Jones is the Program Administrator for the Graduate Medical Sciences masters programs in Biomedical Forensic Sciences, Forensic Anthropology, Bioimaging, and Healthcare Emergency Management in the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology. Patty joined GMS in 1999 and will celebrate her 25th work anniversary in December 2024.

We interviewed Patty about her time at Boston University, her favorite parts of her job, advice she would give to students and more. Read more about Patty below!

Tell me a bit about your journey to Boston University.

I grew up in Illinois. How I got here was kind of a roundabout way. My ex-husband was in the military, and we got stationed here at [Hanscom Air Force Base]. That’s in Bedford. When we got a divorce, I started working for a small biotech company. I was looking to make a change, and I knew someone that worked here and suggested that I come to work here. I applied, and here I am, 24 years later.

So, that was 2000, then?

I came in 1999. So, it’ll be 25 years in December.

Have you always worked in Graduate Medical Sciences?

I started out in GMS. When I started, I did the course scheduling. I helped [GMS Registrar Millie Agosto] out. I did kind of like a variety of different things. And then, when the Associate Dean’s secretary retired, I took her place, and I was with him for, I don’t know, 15 months, maybe.

Then, he stepped down. I was going to leave. The programs that I deal with are out of the anatomy and neurobiology department. So, the chair asked me to stay and work with the programs. I started working with the programs in – I think it was 2008 or 2009 when I started working with all four of the programs.

I know you work with quite a few programs here. Could you tell me a bit more about your roles with them and how you got involved with them?

I do the same for all of them. I do their admissions. I do the budgets. I kind of do everything, a jack of all trades. I do work with recruiting. I work with the faculty, with whatever they need help with. That’s what I do.

[I work with] Biomedical Forensic Sciences, Forensic Anthropology, Bioimaging, and Healthcare Emergency Management.

What drew you to working at Boston University?

Like I said, I knew someone, and she told me it was a great place to work. I was like, “Okay, why not give it a try?” At the time, I lived in Wilmington, so it was a very short commute for me. It was shorter than my commute at the time, because I was driving into Waltham. I was a single mom. I had two teenage daughters. It was important to me to be home more with them and not be sitting on the highway. So, that’s kind of what led me to make the decision to come here.

In the time that you’ve been here, how have you seen the Medical Campus change?

Well, when I first started here, [Clinical Research] was Clinical Investigation. They’ve changed the name. That program had just gotten approved. So, it was just two programs back then, MAMS and Clinical Investigation. So, I’ve seen all the new programs come to fruition and grow. And it’s grown a lot since then. A lot.

What do you think makes GMS special?

I think that in every program here, everyone really cares about the students and wants them to succeed and is willing to help them do that. I think it’s also the same with working here, you know. You have a lot of support. It’s encouraging to know that people have your back and are willing to support you.

What is your favorite part about working here?

When I worked in [the main GMS administrative office], I didn’t work directly with the students. I was kind of in the background. I really enjoy the aspect of working with the students and interacting with them. Now, I would say, that’s probably my favorite part of my job. I meet with many before they even apply. Then, I meet them while they’re going through the application process and eventually come. And I see them go on to graduate. So, I like that part. I like that aspect. I enjoy it.

That must be pretty special watching them grow from beginning to end.

It’s fun. They’re fun. It keeps you young.

What kind of advice would you give to students who are applying and want to pursue this path?

Honestly, the main thing that they need to do in order to succeed is being willing to work hard. Be flexible and work hard. That’s basically what they need to do. And if they get to a point where they need help, if something comes up, they need to ask for it. Don’t try to bumble along.

An international student, right after I started working with the programs, comes to mind. He was having trouble, and he kind of disappeared. Once we got in contact with him and we were able to meet with him and talk with him, he was having a lot of trouble with the language barrier. So, we helped him. We got him into [BU’s Center for English Language & Orientation Programs], and he dropped down to just a couple of courses and then went into CELOP. He got the help that he needed, and then he was able to succeed. So, if you’re having trouble, don’t go hide. You’ve got to reach out. You’ve got to ask for help.

What do you like to do outside of your work at GMS?

I read a lot. I like to knit, spend time with my family. Going to the beach is probably one of our favorite activities. I now have a very long commute, so during the week, I don’t have a lot of free time, but on the weekend and vacations and stuff.