Jamaica Thomas is positively giddy about undergraduate research. And, the junior
political science major from Jonesboro, Ga., isn’t satisfied until she’s done her
“I want to go to law school,” she says. “That’s been my dream since I was in elementary
She believes she’ll have a “bit of an edge” when she gets there thanks to LaGrange
Political Science professors Dr. John Tures and Dr. Tracy Lightcap who “always
have something new for their classes to research.”
Last fall, Jamaica and eight of her classmates from the college’s political science,
history, business and English departments finished in the top five of a nationwide
competition called iOMe Challenge. They were given barely two weeks to write a
10,000 word essay on the national savings rate.
Also, they were required to produce a one-minute video about the key components
of the essay. The students received a $2,000 cash prize for their efforts.
“Through her research, Jamaica found the key piece of information that became
the cornerstone of the entire project,” reports Dr. Tures.
“I really love research,” she says.
“That’s one reason why I want to be an attorney because there’s so much
“A lot of people make fun of me for that,” she laughs.
“I get so excited when I’ve been looking for something for a long time and I finally
find it. It’s like, ‘yes’!”
That kind of 100 percent determination leads her to solutions for some of life’s
most complex questions: What’s the best movie to see this weekend? Who has the
tastiest burritos? Where are the best deals on textbooks?
“I research lots of websites for the lowest prices. I get my books cheap!” she
But, there’s more to Jamaica’s desire to pursue a law degree than her passion
“Being a lawyer is my way of helping people,” she says. “I’m thinking about juvenile
law because I like kids.
“Going through my parents’ divorce when I was younger … I know how hard it was
for me,” she reflects.
“I would like to work for DFCS (Department of Family and Children Services) as
a child advocate. I want to touch somebody’s life the way my grandma touched my