Getting to Know Our Faculty: Meet Dr. Julissa Ventura

We’re excited to introduce you to Dr. Julissa Ventura who joined the Educational Policy and Leadership department this fall as an assistant professor. Read on to learn more about her, and don’t forget to check out our other posts featuring faculty and students!

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I grew up in West New York, New Jersey, which is as its name says is west of New York City. Although I was born and raised in Jersey, I am Salvadoran as both my parents are Salvadoran and immigrated to the United States in 1980’s. I have only lived in Milwaukee for about a month, since August 2019, but am familiar with Wisconsin because I spent seven years in Madison studying for my Master’s and PhD in Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Like I mentioned, both my parents are from El Salvador, and they still live in New Jersey with my two younger siblings – my brother who is 26 and my sister who is 17. I like to think that having a sister whois in her teens keeps me cool since she keeps me up to date on all the trends.

My favorite educational experience is a research internship I did my senior year at Swarthmore College where I received my undergraduate degree. I was working through the University of Pennsylvania on a project with Latinx parents and their experiences in schools in Philadelphia suburb. Part of my internship was to facilitate an afterschool homework club with teachers and Latina mothers. I did a lot of translating between the teachers and the mothers, but also saw how a research partnership between a university and a school could make a difference in the lives of marginalized parents and students. I saw how the mothers learned much more about the different activities and services at the school, and the teachers learned about the mothers’ lives, cultures, and hopes for their children’s education. This experience inspired me to go onto graduate school and also engage in community-based research.

An exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year for me will be to get to know more students, faculty, and staff across campus. I want to connect to some of Marquette’s community and diversity initiatives and also get to know what students are passionate about on campus.

I was drawn to Marquette because of our social justice-oriented mission and the current efforts that the university is making to increase community partnerships as well as the diversity of its students and faculty.

Outside the classroom, I like to go to concerts – my partner and I really love going to see Latin American bands/artists. We just attended the Los Dells Latinx music festival over Labor Day weekend. This past summer I have also reconnected with my hobby of reading novels and find that it’s a really nice way to decompress and relax after work.

Both my parents are my inspiration for the work I do to create and foster educational opportunities for marginalized communities. My parents are the most courageous people I know as they both immigrated at a very young age, leaving behind all of their family to build a home in a country they didn’t know. They always pushed me to take every educational opportunity that came my way because they never had those opportunities, and it is their encouragement and support that has gotten me this far. So, to honor all immigrant parents do for their children, I am inspired to persevere in the struggle to create spaces of equitable educational opportunities for marginalized students in both K-12 schools and in higher education.

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