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Graduate Students Honored for Leadership, Scholarship

June 17, 2022

Julissa MuñizJulissa Muñiz, who earned her doctorate in Human Development and Social Policy, was named the School of Education and Social Policy's Outstanding Alumna, in part for founding the first graduate student organization for Latinx students, Comunidad Latinx.

In its five years as an official student organization, Comunidad Latinx served over 200 masters and doctoral students across the University.

Convocation speaker Na'ilah Suad Nasir, met Muñiz ten years ago at the University of California at Berkeley when Muñiz, a teen-mother, was a first-generation undergraduate.

"I saw an incredibly bright light in Julissa," Nasir said. "She was a remarkably intellectual woman who wrote a beautiful paper in my class on young people in the juvenile justice system, a topic she dove deeper into while writing her dissertation."

Nasir then addressed Muniz directly: "I could not be more proud of you in your journey, nor more excited about how you will impact the field," she said.

Muñiz is the Provost's Early Career Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. She also received the University of Texas Division of Diversity and Community Engagement Visiting School Research Grant.

In his letter of recommendation, Northwestern doctoral student Ivan Hernandez called Muñiz a "natural and intentional leader" both inside and outside the classroom. Most importantly, Julissa does everything without expecting or asking for anything in return," he wrote. "Her character and leadership are nothing short of inspirational."

Read more about our award-winning graduate students:

  • Connor Bain and Jamie (Gorson) Benario were the first and second students in School history to earn the joint Computer Science + Learning Sciences doctoral  degree, a program co-founded by SESP professors Uri Wilensky and Michael Horn
  • Xiao (Angel) Bohannon, a graduate student in the Human Development and Social Policy Program, won an American Association of University Women Dissertation Fellowship.
  • Xiao (Angel) Bohannon, Jennifer Cowhy and Claire Mackevicius of the Human Development and Social Policy program were selected for the David L. Clark National Graduate Student Research Seminar which brings emerging educational   administration and policy scholars together. Previous winners include Abigail Stein (2019) and Richard Paquin Morel (2018).
  • Amanda Cook, a graduate student in the Human Development and Social Policy program, received a Student Experience Research Network Data Archive for Interdisciplinary Research on Learning grant, which supports students who use an interdisciplinary and multimedia lens to research.
  • Sugat Dabholkar, who recently received his doctorate in learning sciences, received the Robert F Tinker AERA Scholarship to attend the annual meeting. He also won the Best Student Paper award from the American Educational Research Association Special Interest Groups Advanced Technologies for Learning and Learning Science.
  • Fortunate Kelechi Ekwuruke, a student in the human development and social policy doctoral program, was one of six scholars named to The Graduate School’s 2022 Dissertation Proposal Development (DPD) Program. The students will each receive $4,000 for pre-dissertation research and participate in virtual, faculty-led proposal development workshops. Northwestern is one of five universities selected by the Social Science Research Council as one of five universities to bring together humanities and social science scholars in pre-doctoral research summer institutes.
  • Sheridan Fuller (PhD21) received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation COVID-19 and Racism Grant which supports using data to help improve communities shaped by structural racism. Fuller also was named to the Washington Center for Equitable Growth Dissertation Scholars Program.
  • Jacob Kelter, who studies how the power of computer modeling and simulations can help solve some of society’s most complex problems, received the prestigious Presidential Fellowship at Northwestern University. Kelter is a doctoral candidate in the joint Computer Science and Learning Sciences Program offered through the McCormick School of Engineering and the School of Education and Social Policy. His dissertation research involves creating computational models for making sense of complex systems and studying how students explore and modify the models to learn
  • Sebastian Kiguel and Nicki Morgan received the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship.
  • Amber Luczak and Emily Salzman have been selected to the Knowles Teaching Fellows program.
  • Jessica Marshall, a graduate student in the learning sciences doctoral program, received a two-year ​pre-doctoral research fellowship with the Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) to further her work creating more equitable learning environments​ across civic education​.
  • Zina Noel was named to the 2022 cohort for the Towards 2044: Horowitz Early Career Scholar Program, which supports scholars from underrepresented groups in North America conducting graduate research in developmental  science. Noel is a pre-doctoral graduate student and Institute of Education Sciences fellow in the Human Development and Social Policy program. Drawing from her international policy and early educator background, Noel studies interactions between public and social institutions and young children, their families, and their communities. Previously known as the Frances Degan Horowitz Millennium Scholars Program, the new iteration of this mentorship opportunity takes its name from the year when the adult population of the US is estimated to become a diverse majority.
  • Frances Poe, who received her master’s in learning and organizational change, won the Association of Change Management Professional’s 2022 Independent Research Award.
  • Addie Shrodes, who earned her doctorate in learning sciences, received a Curriculum Inquiry Writing Fellowship and won the Literacy Research Association Best Paper Award in Literacy, Technology, and Media.
  • Alisa (Ally) Reith, a learning scientist, was named to the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship program.
  • Alumna Jordyn Ricard (BS20), participated in the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program at Yale University.
  • Mari Altshuler, Gabriella Anton, David Bar-El, Allena Berry, Spencer Carlson, Sugat Dabholkar, Ruben Echevarria, Ava Jackson, Chris Leatherwood, Kit Martin,  Julissa Muñiz, Abigail Stein, Jue Wu, and Yanning Yu earned doctorates in Learning Sciences.
  • Naomi Blaushild,  Andrea Kinghorn Busby, Olivia Healy, Courtenay Kessler, Meghan Leggero, Heather McCambly, and Lynn Meissner, Jacquelyn Stephens, and Cora Wigger received doctorates in Human Development and Social Policy.