Fernando Montano M.Ed. '21

Fernando Montano quote


Fernando Montano M.Ed. ’21 was a part of the first cohort for the Master of Education – Higher Education Leadership Emphasis program. He works as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at Snow College. Here, he tells us about his passion for student success and how his non-traditional path in higher education has helped him.

What was one of your favorite memories at UVU?

Dr. Kyle Reyes’s classes. He was so engaging and enthusiastic about teaching. Of course, meeting with my cohort and being able to exchange our work experiences.

What was your path to your current career and why did you make these choices?

Life has not been easy for me. I had to do all kinds of jobs before getting to this point in my life. I faced serious health problems before making the decision to come back to college. I had no other option but to get a degree as an adult and take a different pathway in my life. Since I graduated with a bachelor’s degree, I have been involved in education; first with as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and later on as a Director of a Head Start program. I have been employed at Snow College since 2008 in different positions.

Were you always looking to work in higher education?

Prior to getting an education, I did not even dream that this could be possible, but once I became a college student, I knew this was what I wanted to do.

What are some of the key responsibilities of your role? What does a “day in the life” look like for you?

My work involves working with faculty, staff, students, and the community to create an environment that is welcoming and inclusive for all. An average day may be working with new faculty members and sharing a presentation on inclusion’s best practices. Another day may be planning a college event with student leaders.

What is your favorite part of your job or what are you most proud of and why?

The best part of my job is being able to meet the students where they are, providing the tools and resources they need to succeed in college. The students are my passion—I see myself in them and the best reward I can get is to see them graduating and moving on to an institution that offers four-year degrees to finish the work they start at Snow College.

What is one of the key issues your industry is facing and your thoughts on addressing this challenge?

Meeting the social, emotional, and academic needs of our students is a priority. Being able to compete with other institutions and offer the best educational programs to the students at an affordable price is a must in order to stay relevant for the students.

What advice do you have for someone interested in your industry?

Make sure to finish your degree but do not do it alone, ask for help, and look for the faculty and staff mentors who can guide you and support you along the way. Learn as much as you can about the job you want to do and be committed to it.

What are three transferable skills that you think contribute to professional success?

Commitment, Responsibility, Accountability

What’s something about you that might surprise people?

I was able to defeat my wheelchair and be able to walk again.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to the UVU community? Why does UVU matter to you?

Thank you UVU for the opportunity to be part of the first cohort of the Master of Education – Higher Education Leadership Emphasis program. It was a great journey and an opportunity for me to get to know other colleagues who were working on higher education while increasing my knowledge and expertise on the subject matter.


Utah Valley University is proud of the impact our more than 100,000 alumni make in diverse industries. Visit uvualumni.org for more Wolverine Stories and alumni and student networking programs. For opportunities to give back to UVU, go to uvu.edu/evergreen.