10 things ABOUT: Jason Warnick

Photo by Liz Chrisman

Age: 41
Occupation: Professor of psychology and director, Office of Distinguished Scholarships
Hometown: Jonesboro, Arkansas
Years in the River Valley: 15
Family: Wife, Kyla Warnick, Ph.D. Sons, Ian Warnick (13 years old) and Eli Warnick (7 years old)

1) What is your favorite book and why?

This will sound like I’m cheating at first, but I would have to say the 51 volume Harvard Classics book series. When I was a college freshman, I was at a flea market and saw this series for $50. I saw this series as a chance to educate myself. Over the course of about a year, I read every book. Some were great and some I would still struggle to understand. Finishing that series was an accomplishment that I am still proud of because I did it for myself and my personal development, not a grade or a degree. That series of books changed the way I see myself and the world.

2) Dog or cat? Why?

Both dogs and cats are equally great! I have a golden retriever named Milo and a young kitten named Ollie. They are both part of our family and I couldn’t imagine our house without them.

3) What do you think is the most positive aspect of living in the River Valley?

When I first moved here, I would have said the beauty of the region. There are so many places that just take your breath away. But over the last 15-plus years I’ve lived here, I would have to say that the people are what make this region a great place to live. Our community wants to help each other and give back to their community. I have been involved in a lot of charity and service projects and each time I am amazed at the outpouring of support. So yes, this is a very beautiful place, but it is because of the people.

4) What’s something no one would ever guess about you?

As a professor, it surprises a lot people when I tell them how close I came to dropping out of college. I was lucky to have family support, good professors who mentored me, and students around me who were successful. These people changed the trajectory of my life, and I cannot possibly thank them enough for all they did for me.

5) What is your favorite music genre and artist? Why?

I grew up around skateboarders and bmx riders and punk and alternative music was everywhere. I was told I would outgrow it, but I’m in my 40s and it hasn’t happened yet. I still go to shows and keep up with new bands. It keeps me young at heart. Los Angeles and New York bands get the attention, but it’s the bands from the Midwest that speak to me. Case in point, my favorite band of all-time is The Replacements. Their singer, Paul Westerberg, is one of the greatest songwriters of our generation.

6) What do you nerd out on?

I consider myself a professional nerd so I could include a list of topics for this question. But my latest hobby is making guitar effects pedals. I spend a lot of my free time reading about electronics components and how they affect the sound of guitar signals. I have stacks of resistors, capacitors, integrated circuits and printed circuit boards in my workshop. I am slowly learning and having a lot of fun trying to figure everything out.

7) If you could change one thing about the River Valley, what would it be?

We need a Whole Foods (or something similar) in our region. It is the only thing a large city has that I wish we had.

8) Where is the one location in the River Valley you would tell a first-time visitor that they must go?

If they want to stay around Russellville, I tell them to go to Long Pool. If they want a longer drive, I get them to go to Boxley Valley. The drive to either place is enough to make them want to move here.

9) Pizza, tacos, cheeseburger, or fried chicken? Any particular reason why?

I have been a vegan for over 10 years and a vegetarian for years before that. The only food I miss eating is my mom’s homemade fried chicken. There are some delicious meat substitutes, but they haven’t come close to that fried chicken.

10) What is your favorite quote? Could be from an inspirational person, could be an original.

“Live to the point of tears.”
– Albert Camus. We’ve got one life, let’s make the most of it.