Skip to main content

Graduate Student receives National Academy of Education's prestigious Spencer Fellowship

Gabriel Rodriguez

Gabriel Rodriguez (Education Policy, Organization and Leadership) is one of 35 doctoral students from across the country selected for the National Academy of Education’s (NAEd) prestigious Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program.

This highly competitive fellowship program was created to encourage a new generation of scholars from a wide range of disciplines and professional fields to undertake research relevant to the improvement of education. It supports individuals whose dissertations show potential for bringing fresh and constructive perspectives to the history, theory, analysis, or practice of formal or informal education anywhere in the world.

Rodriguez’s research focuses on topics at the intersection of Latina/o education and critical youth studies. In particular, his dissertation studies how Latina/o youth navigate their schooling by examining their enactments of identity and efforts to forge community in a predominately white suburban high school.
This past year, he was a Visiting Predoctoral Scholar in the Latina & Latino Studies Program at Northwestern University. Rodriquez is also the recipient of a Diversifying Faculty in Illinois Fellowship and was recognized as an American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education Fellow. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and Speech Communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an M.A. in Political Science with a concentration in civic leadership from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The 35 dissertation fellows — selected from a pool of roughly 500 applicants — will receive $27,500 for a one-year period  to complete their research and also attend professional development retreats.

According to NAEd President Dr. Michael Feuer, “The NAEd/Spencer Fellowship Programs not only promote important research, but also help to develop the careers of scholars who demonstrate great promise for making significant contributions to education.”

“This is a tremendous honor that Gabriel has earned,” said Ken Vickery, Director of Fellowships in the Graduate College. “With Gabriel’s multidisciplinary background in political science and education policy as well as his insights into the challenges confronting the Latina/o community, he is well positioned to fulfill NAEd’s goal of applying innovative perspectives to critical questions in educational research.” 

See more information about the Spencer Fellowship Program and other opportunities in the Graduate College’s Fellowship Finder database:

Information on the 2017 NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellows is posted online: