Jason Stephens is a native Hoosier, born and raised near Muncie, Indiana, where he also received his Bachelor's degree in English from Ball State University. Immediately following college, he served two years as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English and American History in Far Eastern Russia. He lived in Washington, DC for three years after returning from Russia where, while working in various public relations and lobbying positions, he became involved with the independent theatre and film community of the nation's capital. His experiences brought him back to the Midwest to pursue a Masters degree in Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago. While a graduate student, he founded the non-profit organization Split Pillow to help foster and support local filmmaking. In 2004 the Chicago Tribune named him one of their "Chicagoans of the Year" for "providing a national platform for local talent."
He is currently a full-time lecturer in the Arts, Entertainment and Media Management Department at Columbia College Chicago, specializing in Finance and Entrepreneurship, after spending six years as an adjunct faculty member there and at Tribeca-Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, where he helped to develop and implement their media literacy/ethics/humanities core studies classes. He currently sits on the Board of Kartemquin Films.