Youth development staff
Assistant Extension professor
Current work, research and interests
Joanna's scholarly work and professional practice are concerned with issues of equity and opportunity in education, with an emphasis on pathways to higher education, the sociocultural foundations of education and advancing the use of community-engaged research processes. She focuses on designing, implementing and evaluating program models that bring together youth, families and community leaders to promote youth thriving in education by addressing barriers and expanding systems of support. Her dissertation research was a longitudinal study of the educational pathways of young people living in the Minnesota Somali diaspora. It explored the ways in which faith and family guided youth agency as youth worked to achieve their aspirations in and through education.
Academic degrees and experience
Ph.D. organizational leadership, policy and development (Major: CIDE), University of Minnesota, 2018.
T.E.F.L. Certificate, Via Lingua, Corinth, Greece.
B.A., magna cum laude, human development and social relations, Kalamazoo College, 2005.
Foreign Study, International Center for Human Development, University of Costa Rica.
- Tzenis, J. A. Campus immersion: Supporting youth agency and aspirations for higher education. Journal of Youth Development.
- Tzenis, J. (2018). Urban Youth Aspirations: Imagining and Navigating Futures in Higher Education. University of Minnesota, Extension Center for Youth Development.
- Tzenis, J. A. (2018). Contradictions of belonging: The educational aspirations and agency of youth in the Somali diaspora.
- Skuza, J.A., Tzenis, J.A., Sheldon, T. & Russo, J. (2011). The Minnesota Children, Youth, and Families at Risk Project: 2011 Impact Report. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.
- Tzenis, J. A. (2004). Facing Reality: An Evaluation of the Building Blocks Program of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Kalamazoo: Kalamazoo College.
University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus