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USC Rossier alumna earns national fellowship

by Andrea Bennett
Kristan Venegas is the first Latina woman from USC to be awarded the fellowship from the American Council on Education. (Photo/Steve Cohn)
Kristan Venegas is the first Latina woman from USC to be awarded the fellowship from the American Council on Education. (Photo/Steve Cohn)

Kristan Venegas, associate professor of clinical education at the USC Rossier School of Education, has been named a fellow with the American Council on Education (ACE) for the 2013-14 academic year.

Venegas, the first woman and the first Latina from USC to be accorded the ACE distinction, earned her PhD in higher education policy analysis at USC Rossier.

Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program aims to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing promising senior faculty and administrators for responsible positions in college and university administration.

Venegas, a research associate for the Pullias Center for Higher Education, which is based at USC Rossier, focuses on college access and financial aid for low-income students of color.

She is a former James Irvine Minority Doctoral fellow, an Association for the Study of Higher Education/Lumina Dissertation fellow and USC Mexican American Alumni Scholar. Her most recently funded projects relate to the role of college preparation programs providing financial information.

“This is a well-deserved acknowledgement of Dr. Venegas’ important work on college access for students of color,” said USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher. “The school’s mission of improving learning in urban education is greatly enhanced by Dr. Venegas’ contributions, and I congratulate her on this national recognition.”

Fifty ACE fellows, nominated by the presidents or chancellors of their institutions, were selected this year following a rigorous application process. Most of the previous fellows have advanced to key positions in academic administration, and more than 300 of the nearly 2,000 higher education leaders who have participated in the ACE Fellows Program since its inception served as chief executive officers of colleges or universities. More than 1,300 served as provosts, vice presidents and deans.

With more than 15 years of experience in student services, Venegas teaches courses related to postsecondary administration and student affairs. She joined the USC faculty in 2007. In 2011, she was selected as a USC Remarkable Woman of the Year and as an Emerging Leader by the National Academic Advising Association. She was recently chosen by the National Hispanic Media Coalition to represent education issues that deal with the Hispanic community.

During her fellowship, Venegas will spend the next academic year working with a college or university president and other senior officers at a host institution.

ACE fellows participate in three retreats designed to broaden their knowledge of leadership, strategy and the world of higher education. In addition, fellows create individualized plans to enhance their learning in a particular area of interest over the year.

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