Posts Tagged 'gabriel velez'

New Research Seeks to Learn How Students Are Processing COVID-19

Dr. Gabriel Velez has started a new research study entitled “Adolescent Meaning Making: Processing What COVID-19 Means for Sense of Self, Place in Society and Future Trajectory.” Currently, he is seeking middle or high school students to participate.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 GraphicCOVID-19 represents a major shift across various aspects of life—economic, educational, health, etc. Furthermore, the impacts on the near and long-term future are still uncertain. Given the current moment of flux, he is seeking to better understanding how various groups of adolescents are processing the current moment and integrating it into their developing senses of self. In terms of human development, older adolescence is a prime time in the life course for developing and affirming a sense of self (an identity) as well as considering this in relation to a future orientation and as to one’s place in society.

The aims of this research are to use an online survey to collect older adolescents’ perspectives and thoughts on COVID-19 and its impact on their lives and communities. Dr. Velez believes it is extremely important to gather students’ voices and perspectives to better understand what they are going through and ultimately be able to support them.

The survey is meant for middle, high school, and early college students and asks about:

  • Their understanding and processing what COVID-19 means to humanity and their societies
  • Their thinking about themselves and their places in society during this moment
  • Their thinking about their future trajectories and opportunities
  • Their trust in different institutions and groups in their society


  • Online survey of approximately 20-25 minutes
  • A short section of close-ended questions and 11 open-ended questions
  • At the end of the survey, there are resources for any individual struggling with coping with the current situation
  • Participants are US middle, high school, or early college students

This study has been approved by the Marquette Institutional Review Board, #HR-3589. If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact Dr. Gabriel Velez.

Marquette’s Center for Peacemaking and College of Education: A Budding Collaboration

downloadBy Marquette University’s PeaceWorks Team

Peace and education go hand-in-hand: relationships, lessons, socialization, empowerment and more in schools lay important individual and collective basis for harmonious and just societies. This understanding has been the foundation of the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking (CfP)’s signature Peace Works program(MUPW), as well as a developing collaboration with College of Education faculty and graduate students.

Since 2014, MUPW has brought peace education and violence prevention curriculum comprised of 30 different lessons to over 2500 students in urban Milwaukee schools. MUPW, implemented in partnership with area K-12 schools, aims to increase young people’s capacity to identify and resolve conflicts nonviolently. The program is implemented in partnership with area schools and encompasses topics such as thought-feeling behavior, grounding techniques, perspective taking, values, and empathy. MUPW adheres to a model of progressive transformation with the belief that learning peacemaking and conflict resolution skills can positively impact a student’s experience of and contribution to school culture, family engagement, and peaceful neighborhoods.

Beginning in the summer of 2019, CfP and the College of Education’s Dr. Gabriel Velezhave worked together with a faculty research team to develop a comprehensive understanding of the impact of MUPW in four K-8 Catholic schools. The efforts have included mixed methods analyses, new measures, collaborations across campus and beyond, and grant applications for research-to-practice partnerships with Milwaukee schools. Dr. Velez has supported this work by drawing on his own work on peace education, restorative justice, and adolescent civic development, while Educational Policy and Foundations graduate student Maddie Hahn has participated in analyzing past years’ data as a guide for next steps.

Since MUPW aims to provide students with the skills necessary for them to employ nonviolent communication and select prosocial ways of building relationships with others, the research began with a focus on faculty and staff perceptions of the efficacy of MUPW in impacting student behavior and positively changing school culture. To this end, a first paper—recently submitted to an academic journal—discussed results from focus group to explore the perceptions of teachers and administrators on the influence of MUPW as it relates to the nonviolent behavior of students and has there been any impact on the overall school culture. This work has also been published on the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies Peace Matters Blog.

Creating systemic change to transform attitudes and actions is a difficult challenge. Understanding the impact of and developing more effective peace education requires time, thoughtfulness, and deep engagement with the people actually involved. Our efforts so far are just first steps in the collaboration between the College of Education and CfP’s MUPW team. The challenge is long-term, multifaceted, and extends beyond classrooms and schools. In a world where inequalities and injustices have been laid bare by COVID-19, we will continue to work together to support students in becoming peacemakers in their schools, families, and communities.

Marquette University’s Center for Peacemaking is an academic center focused on research and action for the promotion of peace, human dignity and justice. Programming allows students and faculty to expand their knowledge and develop their skills around nonviolence in Milwaukee and beyond.

Getting to Know Our Faculty: Meet Dr. Gabriel Velez

This fall, we’re excited to welcome four new faculty members to the College of Education! Please take a moment to meet Dr. Gabriel Velez, an assistant professor in the department of Educational Policy and Leadership. You can also catch up on our entire series getting to know faculty and students!

IMG_0728 (1)I grew up in New York City, right in the heart of Manhattan. I still love going back there to visit my family because it is such a diverse place displaying all of humanity’s challenges, accomplishments, and energy condensed into a dynamic, never-dull city. I have also spent time living in South America, where I taught middle and high school for five years. I was in Peru as a Jesuit Volunteer, and during those two years I met my wife, Catherine Curley, who is a Milwaukee native and Marquette alum. Ever since I first came to Milwaukee over a decade ago—a trip that included a tour of campus—I have loved the city and felt like it was a second home. I look forward to my wife and my raising our first son Ian, who was born this past February, as a Brewers fan and Milwaukeean.

I am excited by all the important work being done with local partners and communities in Milwaukee, such as President Mike Lovell’s focus on combating trauma and the Center for Peacemaking’s various projects. There are a lot of great opportunities to be involved in promoting resilience and working closely with community partners. I am particularly looking forward to supporting the Peace Works program and learning more about different communities by linking with the Office of Community Engagement.

Marquette has always drawn my interest as a Jesuit institution committed to social justice. For me, the College of Education embodies how these ideals have shaped my own life. I have a lot of experience with Jesuit formation between my high school education at Regis in New York City and my two years with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Peru. Being a person for others has played out in my own life through my role as an educator and in working on promoting education to address violence and its legacies.  Here in the College, the faculty, students, and culture is imbued with this sense of mission: transforming education to serve humanity with attentiveness to the dignity and well-being of all. More broadly, Marquette is deeply engaged in the Milwaukee community, and I look forward to being a part of this work as an active citizen-scientist in the city.

As a half-Colombian, I joke that coffee is in my blood. It is truly one of my passions and is connected to so many great experiences and moments in my life—from silent retreats in Peru, to incredible morning sunrises in the Amazon, to my favorite bagel shop in New York, and all the many people and places over the years where I have enjoyed a warm cup. Milwaukee is such a great city for coffee, and I look forward to creating many more of these memories hear at the Colectivos, Valentines, Stone Creeks, Brews on campus, and smaller local roasters and shops. Aside from good coffee, I love to be active and particularly to run, but with my recently broken foot, it may be awhile away before I am back out doing a 5K.



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