A student internship leads to a high-profile career in the high-speed world of NASCAR
When Josh Jones ’01 came to WCU on a football scholarship, he was a young athlete accomplished in several sports, but undecided about a college major. Jones had been an outstanding placekicker on the football team at Ragsdale High School in Jamestown. He also was a starting player on the school’s baseball and soccer teams and had helped the teams win two state championships. But he was unsure of a way to apply his love for sports to an academic field of study in college.
“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do for a future career. I had recently met someone who was in the Secret Service, and thought about going into the Secret Service or the FBI,” he said. “But that didn’t last for long.”
Settling into campus life, Jones decided to major in sport management, an up-and-coming field that required an internship experience in the senior year. He enjoyed the business and marketing courses in his major, especially classes with two faculty members he remembers well—Justin Menickelli MAEd ’95, associate professor in the School of Teaching and Learning, and Kevin Ayers, who was a member of the WCU faculty at that time.
Jones was a hugely successful football player at WCU, an All-Southern Conference and All-American placekicker who signed a contract with the Arena Football League during his senior year to play in the summer after graduation. He was looking forward to the travel and excitement of playing with the professional indoor league. But first, there was the matter of that internship needed to complete his degree requirements.