Patricia J. Fontes, PhD

Patricia Fontes

Title: Psychologist
Location: Hopkinton, Rhode Island, United States

Patricia J. Fontes, PhD, Psychologist, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in psychology education.

Dr. Fontes knew at an early age that the field of education was her calling. Having been awarded a scholarship, she first earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Boston University in 1957. Upon graduating, she worked for two years as a teacher in the Warwick Public Schools and as a religious sister/superior at the Sisters of Our Lady of Providence until 1965. During this time, she continued her academic pursuits, receiving a Master of Education from Boston College (1965). Following her departure from religious life, she was awarded a doctoral fellowship at Boston College and was awarded her PhD there in 1968. Dr. Fontes then joined the faculty as an assistant professor, first at the University of Rhode Island (1968-69) and then at Salve Regina College in Newport, Rhode Island (1969-72) where she progressed from assistant to associate professor and to serving as chair of the psychology department. In 1973, Dr. Fontes moved to Dublin, Ireland to work as a researcher and data analyst on a large-scale social experiment on the effects of standardized testing. In 1975, Dr. Fontes became a research fellow with the Educational Research Center at St. Patrick’s College in Dublin, Ireland until 1988. She returned to the United States to work as a consultant psychologist for the Girl Scouts of Rhode Island before heading back to Europe as a professor at the Early Childhood Education Center, later Institute for Child Studies (CEFOPE/IEC), at the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal. She was officially appointed to the position of Invited Full Professor of Educational Psychology in 1993, exercising that post and later elected Director of the research Institute for Child Studies as well until her retirement in 2003.  She participated in and was grantee for studies in environmental education, funded by the European Union, and in school-museum relations, funded by the Gulbenkian Foundation.

In addition to her work as an educator and psychologist, Dr. Fontes has co-authored several books, including Equality in Primary School Teaching in 1985 and “As Crianças como Agentes de Mudança Ambiental ” and “Os Alunos com Necessidades Educativas Especiais” in 1998.  She published as well many articles and chapters for the US in books in both English and Portuguese. Upon retiring in 2003 and returning to the United States, Dr. Fontes has focused her time on community service, becoming a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and with the Master Gardener program of the University of RI and an activist with the Pax Christi-RI, the RI Anti-War Committee, the Occupy Movement and other peace and environmental justice movements. Focusing her campaign on the latter two issues, Dr. Fontes ran in the RI Democratic State primary election for the US Senate in 2018. Throughout her career, her work has been recognized on numerous occasions. Dr. Fontes was a Boston University scholar from 1953 to 1957 and Boston College Fellow from 1965 to 1968. She has also received grants from the Institute for Portuguese Language and Culture, in Lisbon. In 2019, Dr. Fontes was honored with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to these recognitions, Dr. Fontes has supported and/or maintained professional affiliation with a variety of institutions, such as the American Psychological Association, The Nature Conservancy, the International Wildlife Foundation, the National Wildlife Foundation, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Girl Scouts of the USA.

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