Third-Career Graduate Student Follows His Passion to St. John’s University
Fifty-three year-old Antonio Munoz ‘s’12 D.A. road to becoming a history graduate student at St. John’s University reads like a screenplay. His academic accomplishments exemplify not only the importance of determination, but also how the University makes it possible for students with work, family and other responsibilities to pursue a higher education.
“The Doctor of Arts Program in Modern World History was designed to accommodate people like Tony who want to pursue a second career,” said Dolores Augustine, Ph.D., Professor of History. “We deliberately made it part-time to give students the flexibility they need to balance their commitments.”
Antonio’s journey began when he moved to the Bronx from Cuba at the age of eight. His love for history first took root when he was in grade school and it has never wavered. Although he decided to join the Marines after high school, he didn’t lose his interest in learning about history, an interest that started to center on World Wars I and II and general military history.
His stint in the Marines gave Antonio the ability to attend college free on the GI Bill. After studying x-ray technology and pursuing a career as a hospital x-ray technician for many years, he decided the time had come to follow his real passion. He earned his B.A. and M.A. in history at Queens College and in 2008, he entered St. John’s Doctor of Arts Program in Modern World History.
“I wanted to come here for many reasons,” said Antonio. “There’s the diversity of the student body, the faculty’s reputation for being very supportive — a critical factor for graduate students —and the chance to earn a DA degree. I was attracted by the program’s interdisciplinary approach and its emphasis on preparing students for a teaching career.”
Antonio’s expectations have been met and exceeded at St. Johns. “My department has made me feel welcome from the very beginning,” he said. “My mentor, Dr. Augustine, has always supported and encouraged me. In particular, she has helped me take advantage of professional opportunities like presenting my doctoral research at scholarly conferences.”
“Tony’s findings on the role of the German Secret Police in the Holocaust are making significant contributions to the study of World War II,” Dr. Augustine observed. “In addition, because he is fluent in German, Tony has been able to incorporate controversial historical information that until now has remained virtually unknown and is filling in gaps in our knowledge of military history. “He will be a wonderful teacher who is able to bring his love of history to the classroom,” she said.
Antonio is committed to becoming a college professor and sharing his academic knowledge as well as the wisdom he’s gained through experience. “I want to tell my students they should never let anyone dissuade them from pursuing their goals. I want to use my example to show them that persistence pays off. I have never been happier and more content than I am right now.”