Jenee was the first in her family to attend college and grew up in rural eastern Washington (outside of Yakima). She attended the University of Washington and earned a bachelor's in International Studies, and never really left. As an undergrad, she co-founded the UW Dream Project. As she pursued her masters and eventually her PhD at the UW in educational policy, she continued to grow the Dream Project's reach and scope, most recently as the program's executive director. Her academic pursuits led her to focus on regional collective impact strategies that aim to dismantle institutional and systems structures in order to increase educational attainment outcomes, especially for marginalized students. She is now the Special Advisor for Postsecondary Success & Advancement for the UW's College of Education and Undergraduate Academic Affairs, working on a Gates-funded research study investigating higher education capacity to meet labor market needs in Puget Sound. She is also an adjunct lecturer for the Higher Education Leadership graduate program in the College of Education, teaching about cradle through college theories and approaches to education and economic prosperity. Jenée sits at the intersection of big data, the lives of students/families/practitioners, and rigorous research. She is leading the way for systems changes that will increase equity and prosperity in our region, and from which other regions and states across the country can learn and build.
Central Puget Sound Higher Education Capacity Study
Through grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and JPMorgan Chase and in collaboration with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and the Seattle Regional Partnership, Jenee is conducting research that investigates the Central Puget Sound region's capacity for increasing the number of local adults who can access higher education and move on to secure the great jobs this region has to offer. The research includes regional-level data and information from three sectors: Puget Sound-based employers, regional higher education institutions (voc/tech, 2-year, and 4-year), and student/job-seeker population data (K-12 students, adult re-enterers, veterans, students, partial degree completion adults). Results of this study are intended to inform leaders from the public and private sectors in this region in regards to current, as well as future workforce (and therefore, higher education credentialing) needs, and preliminarily assess options for growing higher education capacity in the region. Find out more about the study here.
The UW Dream Project
The University of Washington Dream Project harnesses the power and impact of college students to create and sustain mentoring relationships with thousands of 6th through 12th graders in Seattle and South King County. Recognizing the inequities created by racism and other forms of oppression, the Dream Project supports our region’s youth, particularly students of color and low-income students, in successfully accessing postsecondary college and career pathways. To achieve this, Dream Project educates and empowers college students to serve as mentors for equity.