Jason Fontana

Degree: Bachelor of Arts in History

College/School: Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs

Since Jason Fontana was a little kid, his dream was to become a history professor.

But economic hardships forced him to leave college as a teen. He eventually earned his cosmetology degree and landed a job teaching at Paul Mitchell’s academy.

At the urging of his students and with support from his wife, Jason went back to school at Miami Dade College and earned his associate degree.

At FIU, Jason was selected as part of the first cohort of the Hispanic Serving Institutions Pathways to Professoriate – a fellowship program sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Through this fellowship, Jason participated in summer research programs and an intensive GRE and grad school training program that required him to live on-campus for six weeks.

He also earned a fellowship with the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers. He joined the national historical honor society, Phi Alpha Theta, and after only one month in the organization, he was elected its president.

During his first week at FIU, he asked his professor, Alexandra Cornelius, associate chair of the Department of History, if she would be his mentor. She gladly accepted. 

One opportunity she provided: since he had teaching experience, she brought him in as an undergraduate teaching assistant in one of her classes.

Jason is graduating with a 4.0 GPA and was invited to join the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa.

He plans to earn a master’s degree at FIU and fulfill his dream of becoming a history professor

By Gisela Valencia,
Junior Account Manager, Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs