Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University
College of Education

Jose Riera Wins Fellowship

Jose Riera

College of Education doctoral candidate selected for prestigious Urban Leaders Fellowship 

By Katie Duncan – College of Education

José Riera, doctoral candidate at the College of Education’s Language, Literacy and Technology program, will be representing Washington State University at this summer’s Urban Leaders Fellowship (ULF)in Nashville, Tennessee. 

The Urban Leaders Fellowship is a paid summer fellowship for professionals who come from various backgrounds, professions, ideologies, and experiences with a sincere commitment to transform communities through people and partnerships. The seven-week program allows fellows to work in a new community to advance policy, make an impact on the community, and to develop their personal skills. This fellowship program is highly competitive with only 135 fellows accepted from more than 1600 applicants to serve in one of nine ULF cities. 

“The Urban Leaders Fellowship allows the average citizen to meet incredible access and opportunity in order to change policy,” said Dr. Tamira Samuel, Co-Executive Director of the ULF program, an education equity champion with nearly fifteen years of experience in education and public policy and a former ULF fellow herself.  According to Dr. Samuel, José will be collaborating with two other members of his cohort on various Tennessee Department of Education projects dealing with issues of student equity and special education. In addition, he will be supporting a Nashville-based partner organization that focuses on educational issues in a one-on-one capacity. 

“This is a great opportunity for me to work on a team, roll up my sleeves and help address inequity and injustice issues in education,” José said.  “I am excited to be able to leverage my academic knowledge to serve minority students and students with disabilities, and the ULF experience will allow me to work alongside government officials, nonprofit entities, and other fellows to enhance educational and social policies.” 

 José credits his ULF program selection to the support and mentorship from his dissertation mentors (Tom Salsbury, Sola Adesope, Yuliya Ardasheva, and Don McMahon) and to the caring advice from College of Education faculty members who encouraged him to pursue academic opportunities that integrated experiential learning, applied research, and mission alignment. “The ULF fellowship is the perfect fit,” José stated. 

Dr. Samuel and José would like other WSU graduate students who are interested in making meaningful changes to underserved communities to apply to the ULF program by visiting