This is part of a series of profiles introducing incoming graduate students at Minerva University. If you would like to learn more about our programs, please visit our website.
From society, and culture, to partnership building and executing research, Julia Yankelowitz has always been driven by the desire to understand people's experiences navigating systems and bridging gaps in education. Her career, encompassing roles as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, a partnership builder for a national non-profit in Argentina, and an Education Research Associate at SRI International—an American research institute—underscores her dedication to equity, accessibility, and opportunity in the educational realm.
"I’ve always wondered how I can expand my professional 'toolkit'. The desire to fuse narrative with data, in order to grasp societal issues, led me to Minerva."
Julia’s journey began with an undergraduate degree focused on Sociology and Education, aiming to comprehend society, culture, learning, and teaching. Along her professional path, the importance of data-backed research findings quickly became evident to her, especially when these findings determined the future funding and partnerships for educational initiatives.
However, Julia's curiosity was not just limited to qualitative analytical approaches in education. At a juncture in her career, she felt a pull towards quantitative data competencies, which led her to a three-year-long search for graduate programs.
Julia soon learned about Minerva’s Master in Decision Analysis program from peers in her professional network. The program's emphasis on providing real-world skills, a holistic understanding of complex problems, and an avenue for personal growth convinced her of its value.
"I felt challenged by Minerva’s Master in Decision Analysis program, but in a way that excites me. I sought skills that transcend content, not just a focus on a particular content area."
Minerva’s unique pedagogy stood out to Julia. The amalgamation of an applied learning curriculum, a diverse international student body, the flexibility of a part-time modality, and a non-residential format gave it an edge over traditional programs. Moreover, the opportunity to learn alongside working professionals from various fields promised an interdisciplinary approach, making Minerva an exciting opportunity.
"I am eager to harness the synergy that arises from interacting with my peers, each bringing their own unique professional backgrounds. This confluence, I believe, will catalyze exponential learning."
For Julia, understanding how to make information-based decisions is paramount for leaders in the education space in today’s world. In her words, “Decisions devoid of data and insights might miss the nuances, leading to half-baked solutions. Leaders, equipped with proper decision-making tools, can bring transformative change.”
Upon graduation, Julia hopes to amplify her understanding of research design, integrate complexity science into her grasp of systems thinking, and employ these newly-acquired tools in the realm of education.
"Minerva promises not just education but transformation. As I embark on this new chapter, I am filled with anticipation. I am ready to challenge myself, expand my horizons, and further my mission of understanding and aiding educational systems globally."
Julia’s passion lies in using education as a bridge, be it through connecting with multilingual students or helping organizations realize their goals. Looking ahead, she sees herself leveraging her diverse experiences, her ‘toolkit’, and the skills acquired at Minerva, to spearhead projects that make a tangible difference in the world of education.