Delia was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan among a large, tight-knit Mexican and Puerto Rican community. A MexiRican Latina and first generation college student, she earned a B.A. in history from Grand Valley State University and both her M.A. and Ph.D. in history from The Ohio State University. She is currently an assistant professor of history at Michigan State University. She is also a core faculty member of the Chicano/Latino Studies Program.
Drawing on her lived experiences as a Latina in Michigan and extensive primary source research, her work centers on Latino placemaking in the Midwest. She is the author of Making the MexiRican City: Mexican and Puerto Rican Migration, Activism, and Placemaking in Grand Rapids, Michigan (University of Illinois Press, 2023). Her book details how disparate Latino communities came together to respond to social, racial, and economic challenges and simultaneously transformed Grand Rapids and the Midwest from the 1920s to the 1970s. She is also the author of two award winning articles on Latinos in Michigan.
She is involved in a number of public history initiatives with the goal of helping to resolve the erasure of Latinxs in the history of Michigan and the Midwest. In 2018, she was appointed by the governor of Michigan to the Michigan Historical Commission, which advises the director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and approves Michigan Historical Markers. She has since been reappointed for another four year term. Dr. Fernandez-Jones is also on the advisory boards for the Kutsche Office of Local History and the Historical Society of Michigan. In 2022, she joined the Michigan State University Press's Editorial Board. Lastly, she and collaborators in the Kutsche Office for Local History and the Latino Community Coalition (Grand Rapids, Michigan) have spearheaded the Latinx Historical Marker Project which seeks to amend the lack of state historical markers that commemorate Latinx communities in Grand Rapids.
Dr. Fernandez-Jones sees demystifying academia for first generation college students and students of color as a priority. Since 2021 she has served as the director of the Womxn of Color Initiative at Michigan State University. Her work and that of collaborators seek to make a space for WOC faculty, graduate students, undergrad, and community members on Michigan State's campus. Specifically, we help to reshape the fabric of the university into a place where womxn of color have access to holistic and culturally validating support and resources that will allow them to thrive. In addition, she works closely with Latinx undergraduate students through her position as the undergraduate coordinator for the Chicano/Latino Studies program at MSU.