Alumni >> Noteworthy Alumni
alumnus of Upward Bound at the University of New Hampshire
2009 - Jason Bissonnette is an alumnus of the UNH Upward Bound program and Manchester Memorial High School. He spent four years in the program during high school. Coming from a single-family home with a working older brother and no family members who pursued college, he credits Upward Bound with teaching him how to set his sights on college and follow the correct path to graduation.He initially entered the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as an Astronomy major with high aspirations for the field. While there he became heavily involved in residential student government and student affairs, and helped to reshape much of the administrative and funding structure to increase activity participation. Eventually he served as Assistant to the Student Development Director of Residence Life, and began developing and administering leadership development programs in a professional capacity to the student residential staff. Through the same position, he developed and instructed a college class in leadership education, all while continuing to pursue his own studies at the university.
During the summers, Jason returned to the UNH Upward Bound program as a residential staff member for four consecutive years, working as a tutor-counselor, Bridge Senior advisor, and Residential Staff Supervisor. Utilizing his experiences as a student, he made deep and lasting connections with his students, and realized that education was the profession he wanted to pursue most. With that in mind, he switched his major to mathematics, and set his sights on New York City with the goal of becoming an urban educator.
Today, Jason is in his third year as a middle-school math teacher in the South Bronx at M.S. 325. He is in his final semester at the City College of New York working toward his Masters Degree in adolescent mathematics education. His thesis is on the impact of male teachers on the adolescent development of male inner-city youth. He is quick to say that his experiences through Upward Bound have molded him into the person he is today, committed to a well-rounded education of at-risk youth. He has no intention of leaving the classroom anytime soon, and plans on working for urban education initiatives throughout his lifetime.