In Their Own Words – Volunteer Allen Jones

NJCTS has started a new feature on our website called: In Their Own Words. These stories will give you an opportunity to get to know some of our superstar volunteers, advocates and supporters and learn why and how they are involved with NJCTS.

Our first profile is on volunteer Allen Jones The man behind the camera! You will find Allen and his camera at the NJCTS Leadership Academy each year, as well as the Family Retreat, capturing priceless images of our advocates and families.

How did you become involved with NJCTS?

Allen Jones – the man behind the camera shooting at the Leadership Academy.

During a period of unemployment, I was considering photography as a career, and as part of this exploration, joined the Princeton Photography Club, of which I still am an active member. The Club was contacted by NJCTS, soliciting volunteer photographers for their first fundraising walk in Princeton. I volunteered, as I figured it would be good experience and I like doing event photography.

I understand you are not a professional photographer, so what is it about photography that keeps you involved as a hobby?

I started in High School, using equipment from my grandfather and my dad, and got really interested in it. In High School I took photos for the yearbook and the newspaper. I kept this up for a while in college, taking photos for the newspaper, the school public relations office, and for a local studio. I mostly left it behind due to cost and time as I pursued a career as a chemist, though I always maintained an interest in it (when I started in photography, having an interest in chemistry helped, as we used a lot of wet chemistry to process our film and prints!). I enjoy capturing the excitement of events, and I like to capture images that display the beauty of the world around us, both natural and man-made. I also like to experiment with time-lapse and night-time photography.

What is your “day job”?

I am employed by the City of Newark Board of Education to implement and run a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program developed by Students 2 Science, Inc. in East Hanover, NJ. I have six laboratories that are equipped with very high end analytical equipment that we use with middle and high school students to run experiments, and eight full-time employees. And we use a lot of volunteers in our programs!

Do you volunteer for any other organizations?

Yes. I volunteer with the American Chemical Society in multiple capacities (career consultant, workshop presenter, committee member, section councilor, and section photographer); with the Delaware Valley chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society as a photographer, especially for their City to Shore Bike Ride fundraiser; with the Princeton Photography Club, and as one of the photographers at my church, Stone Hill Church of Princeton.

You have volunteered for NJCTS for years, would you describe for me what is it about our events that keeps you interested in capturing our programs?

First of all, I have really enjoyed the people and the events. I think it is the warmth and acceptance of NJCTS more than anything else that keeps me coming back. I am also interested in medicine (most of my career has been in pharmaceutical research), and so I am very fascinated by the medical, biological, psychological, and social challenges that surround Tourette’s Syndrome. I also like that I can use my hobby to further the understanding, treatment, and possibly cure for Tourette’s.

Do you have any other hobbies besides photography?

I like gardening and canning, music, woodworking, hiking, developing novel science demonstrations, and skiing.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a Super Volunteer! Allen is truly game for anything, especially at the Academy.

What does your family think of your volunteer efforts?

They are supportive of it. My wife says it keeps me out of trouble, makes me more rounded and draws on a different skill set from my day job, keeps me from getting bored, and gives me some needed challenges.

Are you the person at personal/family events who usually does the photography?

Sometimes I will, but more often I let everyone else have at it with their cell phones and I take a break.

Thank you Allen for your time and your beautiful work!