Scholars Leadership

Jonna Iacono

Dr. Jonna Iacono | Director, University Scholars Program
The Director of the University Scholars Program is Dr. Jonna Iacono. Dr. Iacono arrived at Northeastern by way of Brown University, where she earned her Ph.D. in Early American Literature and Cultures. Before this, she graduated with honors from Princeton University. An affiliated faculty member in Northeastern's Department of English, she is at work on a book manuscript about the evolution of the nineteenth-century American novel's theoretical concerns and aesthetic practices. In addition to working with students in the classroom, Dr. Iacono has guided students through the process of applying for and winning nationally competitive fellowships, such as the Rhodes, Marshall, and Fulbright.


Dr. Karas

Dr. Andrew Karas | Associate Director, University Scholars Program
Dr. Andrew Karas serves as Associate Director of the University Scholars Program. He brings a range of classroom and administrative experience to the role, having most recently worked in the University of Pennsylvania’s Career Services office. Dr. Karas has also taught introductory writing at Harvard (his undergraduate alma mater) and Yale, where he received his Ph.D. in English Language and Literature. His ongoing research examines the prominence of revision and multiple versions in modern poetry.


abe-headshotMr. Abráham Peña-Talamantes | Associate Director, University Scholars Program
Mr. Abráham Peña-Talamantes serves as Associate Director of the University Scholars Program, and is a PhD candidate in sociology at Florida State University. Most recently, he worked as the director of the McNair Scholars Program at Suffolk University where he assisted first-generation, income-eligible, and underrepresented students with preparation for PhD admission and completion. A McNair alumnus from the University of Texas at Austin, he is passionate about diversity, inclusion, and equity and currently serves as the Co-Editor of Opportunity Matters: Journal of Access and Opportunity in Education. He has taught and published work on issues of race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and social inequality. He is particularly interested in studying the experiences and identity negotiation processes of sexual minority Latinxs across social contexts.


staff2Ronnie Toca | Administrative Assistant, University Scholars Program

Ronnie Toca is the Administrative Assistant for the University Scholars Program. Prior to joining us at Northeastern, Ronnie served as the administrative assistant to a benefits consulting team at CBIZ. Ronnie earned a Master's Degree in Music Performance (clarinet) at The Frost School of Music at the University of Miami and his BM at the New World School of the Arts, University of Florida.