Brandywine welcomes new director of student affairs

A woman stands outside a building.

Penn State alumna Stephanie Jones has been appointed director of student affairs at Penn State Brandywine, effective July 5.

Credit: Bill Tyson

Name: Stephanie Jones

Title: Director of Student Affairs

Department: Student Affairs

Stephanie Jones joined Penn State Brandywine as the new director of student affairs in July. She graduated from Penn State at University Park with her bachelor’s degree in crime, law and justice and received her master’s degree in training and development from Penn State at Harrisburg. Coming from Neumann University and holding prior experience in Brandywine’s student affairs office, Jones is looking forward to helping students navigate the college experience.

Brandywine: What is your background and previous experience?

Jones: I began my career in student affairs in 2006 at Penn State Lehigh Valley. I held a part-time job in student affairs, as well as university relations and athletics. Eventually, I moved into a full-time position in Lehigh Valley’s office of student affairs.

I was a student affairs specialist and an assistant director of student affairs while at Lehigh Valley, and then I transitioned to the Brandywine campus in 2014, where I was the associate director of student affairs.

I then took a little break from work to have my kids in 2017, and in 2020 I felt ready to return to work in higher education. I began working at Neumann University in December 2020 as a specialist for student conduct, and I was then promoted to my most recent position as dean of students.

Brandywine: What was your deciding factor in coming to work for Penn State Brandywine?

Jones: Originally in 2014, I had always heard about the amazing things happening at Brandywine. Conversations were going on about the campus building a residence hall and the Student Union, and I noticed there was so much excitement here. When a position opened up here in student affairs, I knew I wanted to head down here. I wanted to be a part of the growth here.

For me though the deciding factor is truly believing in the strength and power of the Penn State network — there is truly nothing like it.

"For me though the deciding factor is truly believing in the strength and power of the Penn State network – there is truly nothing like it."

—Stephanie Jones , director of student affairs, Penn State Brandywine

Brandywine: What are you most looking forward to during your time at Brandywine?

Jones: Preparing students for successful and rewarding careers and lives by providing innovative co-curricular learning opportunities.

Brandywine: What are some goals you’d like to accomplish during your time at Brandywine?

Jones: One of my main goals is to look at ways we can increase retention for our students. I want to work with the admissions and academic affairs offices to address some of those issues as well. I would also like to contribute to getting Brandywine to Division III status in the NCAA. The last goal I have is to really define the co-curricular experience here at Brandywine and be able to incorporate learning objectives and outcomes.

Brandywine: Your professional experience lies in higher education. What led you to work in higher education, specifically in student affairs?

Jones: I began working in higher education by chance. When I was a student, I wasn’t very involved. I didn’t even know anything about the Office of Student Affairs.

Now, I just believe so much in the work we do and how we’re able to support students. I’ve witnessed some amazing things happen in the lives of our students, just because someone invested their time to provide support to them or help navigate them as they’re going through their college journey. This job is so fulfilling. I leave here knowing that I’m making a difference and having an impact on a student’s life, whether it’s by helping them get to the next step in their professional career, or if I’m just listening to them if they’re having a bad day.

Brandywine: What is your favorite part about working in higher education?

Jones: My favorite part is just working with the students and being able to see their progression. I still keep in touch with a lot of students I’ve worked with in the past, and it’s so fulfilling to see where they are now.

Brandywine: What are some of your interests? What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Jones: I have three little ones, so there’s rarely free time outside of work. But, when I’m able to squeeze in some free time, I enjoy playing the piano, running and reading. I try to run every day for my mental health, and I’ve been playing the piano ever since I was a little girl.