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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Education Award Recipients

Young Alumna of the Year Award

Dr. Tatiana JosephDR. TATIANA JOSEPH, ARTS '05

When Tatiana Joseph moved from Costa Rica to Milwaukee at age 10, “the only two words I knew how to say were bathroom and help.” Her new home was a small, crowded attic on the city’s south side. But she and her younger sister began school, and, with the help of dedicated teachers, they soon were fully bilingual and flourishing. Even at that age, Tatiana says she was “hooked on teaching” — and determined to make a difference in the lives of children like her sister and herself.

Tatiana became the first in her immediate family to attend college, majoring in secondary education and Spanish at Marquette. Then she went on to the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, where she earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and bilingual education and a doctoral degree in urban education.

Now she’s an assistant professor and program director for the Second Language Program in UWM’s School of Education. “Marquette gave me the foundation to understand and engage in quality teaching,” she says. “Today I am using those skills to engage pre-service teachers, to encourage them to become quality teachers and of course to fight for the rights of children.” And she continues to fight for those rights herself as a member of the Milwaukee Public Schools’ Board of Directors.

“I believe in the power of education, and I believe that a quality, culturally relevant education has the power to transform the lives of children,” she says. “I believe in language and identity rights, and, most important, I believe every child has the right to success, regardless of their background. My goal is to advocate and demand opportunities for all children to succeed.”

Hometown: Milwaukee
Favorite quote: “Teaching is a profession that deals with people whose dreams and hopes are at times timid and at other times adventurous and whom I must respect all the more so because such dreams and hopes are being constantly bombarded by an ideology whose purpose is to destroy humanity’s authentic dreams and utopias.” — Paulo Freire
Dream dinner guest: Paulo Freire
Marquette faculty members who had an impact: “All staff from the EOP Program; Dr. Barry Velleman and Dr. Belén Castañeda from the Spanish Department.”
Favorite Marquette memory: “Moving-in day at McCormick hall. My father and mother helped me move in. This was the first time either of them had stepped onto a college campus. I could see the pride in their eyes. This was the first time anyone in our nuclear family was going to college.”
Marquette legacy: Her younger sister, Jessica Jones, Arts ’08, and husband, Josh Joseph, Arts ’04.
Career she aspired to in grade school: Teacher.
Most influential people: Her parents.