Westminster Professor Awarded Prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to Peru

Jamie Joanou

February 20, 2018

Jamie Joanou, Ph.D., to conduct research on visual methodologies and street youth in Lima

It’s been nearly 10 years since Dr. Jamie Joanou promised Manuel, one of her dissertation-research participants, that she would one day return to Peru. As part of her doctoral dissertation in 2008 she studied six local youth, including Manuel, and their living and working habits on the streets of downtown Lima.

That promise is soon to become a reality as Joanou, Westminster MACL associate professor, heads to Peru in the spring of 2019 under the prestigious Fulbright Scholar program.

Focusing on visual methodologies to understand social phenomena, Joanou will return to Peru to study the youth who were able to transition out of street life. During her time abroad, she plans to revisit her previous work and implement a new visual research project with Manuel and two other participants who successfully made that transition.

"In my earlier research, I employed a method known as photovoice, which relies on participant-generated photographs that are discussed in open-ended informal interviews to gather participant perspectives on issues relevant to their lives," Joanou explained. "It is my hope to complete a new photovoice study where the participants explore their current realities, while also reflecting on the support structures that helped them to find work, build families and transition out of street life."

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. The award aims to increase mutual understanding between Americans and other countries. Since its inception in 1946, more than 380,000 "Fulbrighters" have participated in the program.

"It comes as no surprise to me that Jamie is being recognized with a Fulbright Scholarship for her professional research and personal commitment to learning with and about children who experience street life in Peru," said Melanie Agnew, dean of Westminster's School of Education. "Her dedication to serving this population is unwavering and she is undoubtedly equipped with the academic aptitude to realize her goals associated with this award."

In addition to pursuing her research project, Joanou will also work as a visiting faculty member at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and offer a series workshops on visual methodologies for faculty and students.

"Some of the educational strategies I will teach includes the use of photovoice, photo essays, photo journals, digital stories and mapping projects to learn about students' lives outside of school or explore issues affecting their communities," she said. "Workshop participants will discover the ways in which they can adapt these visual methods for their own practice, whether in the classroom, community or research field."

As a Fulbright grantee, Joanou will join the ranks of distinguished participants in the program. Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists and teachers. They include 59 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 71 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients and thousands of leaders across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

"The prestigious and highly competitive Fulbright award affirms Jamie's work and passion for her research, which is sure to have a positive impact on the people around her," Agnew added. "Westminster College and the School of Education are fortunate to have Jamie on faculty and I look for to her many contributions and accomplishments."