GVSU’s Jones takes her talents to Costa Rica

GVL / Robert Mathews
Freshman Carson Jones


GVL / Robert Mathews Freshman Carson Jones

Kate Nuyen

Carson Jones is not just an allied health sciences and psychology major. Carson Jones is not just a sprinter for Grand Valley State University’s track and field team. Carson Jones is a student athlete intent on making a difference.

Over winter break, Jones will be heading to Costa Rica. Her plans, however, don’t include sitting on a beautiful beach with a fruity drink in hand. Rather, Jones is heading south to take part in a 14-day medical mission trip.

In Costa Rica, Jones will be working in various clinics throughout the country, while providing an assortment of health care services. Jones has never been abroad, but decided to spend her Christmas break helping others when a friend from Western Michigan University decided to go on the same trip.

The trip will cost about $3,000, which will cover travel cost, medical supplies, pharmaceuticals and health programs for the people of Cost Rica. Jones is looking to her friends and family for support.

“I am raising the money through word of mouth and emailing, writing letters and posting on Facebook,” Jones said. “I created a volunteer website so people can make online donations with their credit cards, as well as a flyer that I have sent out to my team and family members.”

Jones plans on coming back for a fifth year at GVSU, and after that intends on applying to the physician assistant program in graduate school. 

Growing up, Jones wanted to be a teacher because she knew she wanted to work with kids. She eventually switched to the medical field in pursuit of helping others.

“I really love working with kids, and on this trip I will probably be working with a lot of kids,” she said. “I think this will be a really good experience.”

Last year in track, Jones hit provisional marks in the indoor 1600-meter hurdles, and in the outdoor 400-meter hurdles.

“I have competed at conferences every year, but I haven’t actually raced at nationals yet,” Jones said. “Running in nationals is my main goal for the season.”

Jones has a full schedule in front of her as she continues to be a student athlete while raising money for her trip.

“Right now, I have a lot on my plate with balancing track, classes and planning for my trip. Making lists and prioritizing are huge for me,” she said. “School comes first for sure… And track for me is an escape from the stress of classes.”

Those interested in donating to Jones’ cause can check out her volunteer website: http://www.volunteerforever.com/volunteer_profile/carson-jones.