The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette professor Julissa Ventura granted research fellowship

The National Academy of Education aims to fund research proposals that will advance the education field and further the fellow’s career, by providing a year dedicated primarily to research.
Photo by Photo courtesy of United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County.
Youth Coalition Summit Fall 2022. Ventura is standing with PhD student Saul Lopez, who works with her as a research assistant.

Every year, applications open for the National Academy of Education Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Available internationally, 25 applicants were picked for the 2024-2025 program. One of Marquette’s own, Julissa Ventura, a professor of education and leadership, was one of the applicants awarded this fellowship.

This program specializes in providing funding of $70,000 for scholars in critical education fields. The National Academy of Education aims to fund research proposals that will advance the education field and further the fellows career, by providing a year dedicated primarily to research.

For Ventura, this has been a dream project for several years. Ventura will take a year off from teaching to focus fully on her research, and will attend retreats in Washington, D.C where she and fellow education scholars will share her research.

“Just to learn that I had won the fellowship was very exciting and overwhelming, but affirming. Affirming that the project is important, and my work is good enough to be out there,” Ventura said.

Ventura came to Marquette in 2019, where she got connected with the Milwaukee Community Schools partnership, an initiate between Milwaukee Public Schools United Way of Greater Milwaukee Areas and the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association.

Ventura’s fellowship allows her to do more research to see how students engage in leadership in their schools/ She hopes to integrate the local surroundings schools into the Marquette community and show them this could be a choice for college in the future.

The project will have students of all ages, including K-5, K-8 and high school students. Ventura’s research focuses on how community practices and building beneficial partnerships for social justice and Latinx students’ sense of belonging.

Ventura’s research project that was approved through this fellowship is in collaboration with Milwaukee Community Schools Partnership and the staff there to identify how her research can improve the outcomes of the students, staff and families a part of the community schools.

Moving forward, Ventura will be going to the schools in Milwaukee and observing youth councils through interviewing students and staff. Her goal from this is to better understand what their experience is like as part of the shared leadership of their schools, and how her research can support the improvement of student voice in their schools.

This project is utilizing qualitative research by involving observations of youth leadership meetings and interviews of students and staff. It will also involve working with the schools to identify needs.

“I’m hopeful that through this year, I’m able to identify some best practices, some structures and practices that other schools can learn from because it’s really important that our schools listen to our students about their experiences and make improvements based on their experience, because we know the students know the schools the best,” Ventura said.

Along with contributing to student voice in schools, Ventura hopes to build a stronger relationship between Marquette and the community schools. She hopes to collaborate with the staff in the Milwaukee Community Schools, so the research helps the teachers, students and schools as well.

Through this award, Ventura said she can live out her commitment to social justice through collaborative projects.

“What’s really important to me is that research gives back t0 the community we’re working with, and if we are education researchers our research needs to impact the practice and policies in our schools because we have a lot of inequality in our school system, our public school system and the City of Milwaukee, that has been under resourced for a long time,” Ventura said.

In her early career, Ventura completed research in Philadelphia with Latinx immigrant parents, which got her interested in the power of research in terms of identifying issues in education.

Ventura said she became more intrigued when she was informed that community schools share leadership among staff and students.

After getting her PhD in education policy studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ventura worked with a Lantinx Community Center that serves Latinx youth. From there, she started a “youth for youth” program that highlighted youth leadership and Latinx culture identity.

As far as her favorite aspect of working in research goes, Ventura said she enjoys working with students.

“Being in schools and identifying the issues that matter to students and how we as education researchers can elevate their voice and highlight the ways in which students are very knowledgable. We need to pay closer attention to the ways in which they identify ways to help improve their school,” Ventura said.

This story was written by Trinity Zapotocky. She can be reached at [email protected]

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Trinity Zapotocky
Trinity Zapotocky, Assistant News Editor
Trinity Zapotocky is a sophomore studying Communications and Marketing. She is from Naperville, Illinois and is currently the Assistant News Editor for the Marquette Wire. In her free time she enjoys reading, watching Gilmore Girls, going to the gym, and trying new coffee spots. Trinity is excited to cover important news and grow at the Wire this year.

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *