Jason Hostutler, Ph.D.
Humanities Advisor, Dietrich College
Office Location: Baker Hall 160-I
To schedule a meeting: https://go.oncehub.com/JasonHostutler
Jason advises second, third, and fourth year Humanities students in History, Philosophy, and Modern Languages.
How long have you been at CMU and how did you get here? What (if any) other roles have you had at CMU? What did you do before coming to CMU?
I have been at CMU since September, 2023. Prior to arriving here, my career took me across the United States and around the world. I started at Marquette University in Milwaukee by earning a Ph.D. in History. Between 2014 and 2023 I advised students in a dual degree between an American university and a partner university in China. I lived in Beijing year-round until 2020. Working in China was a fun time in my life and great career experience. I built my resume while traveling Asia and the world.
What was your undergraduate major? How did you end up deciding on it?
I’ve always been in love with the humanities, especially history. My parents would often stop at National Parks and historical sites when vacationing as a child. I remember being so captivated by the personalities, tragedy, but also the powerful human spirit I discovered during a trip to the Gettysburg National Battlefield. In other words, I was hooked. Later, I was a first-generation college student and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life but I knew the subjects in which I was interested, so I picked history as my undergraduate major. Fortunately for me, I met some great advisors and faculty as a college student who truly mentored me and shaped the personal and professional directions my life has taken. I’ve strived to be that person in other peoples’ lives ever since.
When was a time when you struggled or encountered a setback? How did you respond?
Covid-19 affected all of our lives in immeasurable ways, but my life was totally turned upside down. I lived and worked year-round in Beijing for six years before 2020. My life was completely centered in China – I had an apartment, an office, and a life there for over six years. I made a couple visits a year to the United States for a week or two at a time at most. The global spread of the pandemic brought lengthy mandatory quarantines and truly harsh rules and restrictions to China. There was no way I could return to that in China but I had no life in the United States. There was a period where I felt like a refugee in my own country. While learning to work remotely over Zoom I was also buying a car, finding a place to live, and readjusting to life in the USA. Looking back, this experience taught me so much. Even what seems like an insurmountable life crisis can be overcome. When faced with challenges and stress that seem overwhelming, it is important to take a step back and assess the entire problem and then go at it piece by piece. Some problems can take weeks or months to overcome and thinking long-term and strategically is vital. And it is always important to find comfort and relaxation even in times of stress and uncertainty. Having good times in bad times will make the bad times more manageable.
What is a fun or surprising fact about yourself?
I am an avid and experienced world traveler. I have visited 43 different countries so far and I love to share my experience.