The University of Arkansas holds many memories for Jonathon Modica. As an institution with a “great athletic reputation and culture,” he recalls the times he spent on the basketball court in Bud Walton Arena playing for the Arkansas Razorbacks and his involvement in Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. as two of his most memorable experiences as an undergraduate student. However, when considering what impacted him the most while attending the University, he attributes the opportunity to build relationships among faculty members and alumni as one of the most beneficial aspects of his academic career.
Modica has gone on to achieve academic success as he has earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism, which he was awarded in 2007; a master’s degree, also in journalism, in 2008; and is currently pursuing his doctorate in the Higher Education Leadership Program. “The relationships I built as an undergraduate student are still beneficial to me because many of the people I got to know were professors or staff members, and these individuals still serve as informal mentors to me today,” he said.
Spending much of his educational experience studying journalism, he looked to his departmental professors for guidance and leadership. One of these professors, Gerald Jordan, associate professor of journalism and past president of the Arkansas Alumni Association Board of Directors, became a mentor for Modica during his undergraduate and graduate years. Identifying Jordan as an influential figure, Modica expresses much gratitude when speaking about his former professor. “He consistently encouraged me through difficult times to earn my degree and for that I am forever grateful.”
The impact of the people who have played such positive and encouraging roles in Modica’s life has made him want to reach out to others who may need help while attending the University of Arkansas. “I wanted to be sure that one day I positioned myself to help younger students as people had helped me as an undergraduate,” he said.
Modica is achieving this goal through his work as a graduate assistant in the UA Multicultural Center, where he helps in the diversity efforts of the university, as well as being a member of the Arkansas Alumni Association’s Young Alumni Board. Since graduating in 2007, Modica has found that being involved with the organization has enabled him to stay connected with the University, not only through academics, but through service as well.