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Joel LaLone

The Stats on Joel LaLone

Snowboarder, motorcycle enthusiast, soccer coach, and yes: professor of mathematics. Professor Joel LaLone is a walking contradiction to the bow tie wearing, stuffy mathematics professor stereotype.  A man with a variety of different interests, and a larger than life personality; he brings both energy and passion to his teaching. Joel always had a love for mathematics, and came to Jefferson after graduating high school and studied accounting.  After graduating with his associate’s degree from Jefferson, he attended SUNY Potsdam where he earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and thereafter attended Syracuse University where he earned his master’s degree in mathematics.  Joel was chosen and granted a teaching assistantship at Syracuse, where he taught math classes as a graduate student, and it was in those classrooms that first sparked his love for teaching.  He was hired at Jefferson in 1985 as a full-time mathematics instructor and that same year became the men’s soccer coach. “I’ve been teaching here almost 30 years, and I certainly never expected to still be here. I really thought after all this time teaching statistics would have gotten repetitive and static, and just figured that soccer would be the place where I would have fun; none of that is true. I am more excited today teaching my students than ever before, and with the evolution of technology, I am able to apply statistics to real-world experiences for my students and that has opened up new possibilities and continues to drive my passion for teaching,” he said. 

His students would agree. Joel has garnered a reputation on campus not only as a great math professor, but a teacher who invests in his students beyond the classroom. One of the ways Joel gives back is through the Center for Community Studies (CCS) at Jefferson Community College.  Since its inception in 1999, Joel has been a fixture in promoting and working tirelessly on the Center’s behalf. Each year, nearly 400 JCC students gain hands-on experience applying the concepts and mathematics learned in class to actual research. Under Joel’s supervision and guidance, students at all levels of statistics have the opportunity to participate in research-design studies, formulation of questions, data collection, data cleansing and analysis, interpretation, compilation and presentation of data to the community at large. “For these students, to be able to have an opportunity to gain the knowledge and real-world experience as a freshman is something so unique to JCC and something they carry with them both on their resumes and in their life,” he said. Currently, there is no other college in New York that provides the research and learning opportunities for its students, and the research conducted by the CCS is often the catalyst to improve communities with the data used by local leaders, planners and grant writers to help support and fund the development of new initiatives. “We had 86 students signed up for the Center last April, and I like to say that we can rival any sports team that tries to get that many students to participate; it’s something to be proud of,” he said.  Joel finds the most rewarding part of teaching is helping his students and providing all the tools necessary to help make their lives a success. “What makes me the teacher that I am today is what I’ve learned and gained by being at JCC, not that piece of paper I was given at graduation; it’s the students here that inspire me every day.”

Learn more about Jefferson's Mathematics A.S. degree and the Center for Community Studies

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