Poverty Research Initiative


In recognition of the Jesuits’ Universal Apostolic Preference of “walking with the excluded” we are inviting Marquette University researchers who focus on poverty, its root causes, and its subsequent effects on members of the various communities across Milwaukee to:

  • connect with community leaders, as well as engage with members of the community that we intend to serve
  • explore new ways to advance our research/scholarship in alignment with community needs.

The Poverty Research Initiative has met since the 2021-2022 academic year, engaging community leaders in dialogue and mutual exchange of ideas to inform both practice and research outcomes.


All people deserve the opportunity to live in healthy and thriving communities.


To create a network of scholars and community partners to develop actionable research that significantly reduces structural inequities of poverty.


  • Cultivate a multidisciplinary community of Marquette scholars, students and staff who share an interest in poverty research.
  • Foster social connections among Poverty Research Initiative team members, faculty at Marquette and across the city, community leaders and organizations, stakeholders and residents.
  • Connect community organizations, stakeholders and residents with available Marquette resources.
  • Explore new ways to advance research/scholarship in alignment with community needs.

Steering Committee

  1. Gabriel Velez, Assistant Professor, Educational Policy and Foundations Program Coordinator, College of Education
  2. Marilyn Frenn, Professor, College of Nursing
  3. Aleksandra Snowden, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor, Social and Cultural Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences
  4. Jeanne Hossenlopp, Vice President, Research and Innovation
  5. Kent Belasco, Assistant Professor of Practice, Finance and Banking, College of Business
  6. Manoj Babu, Instructor of Practice, Supply Chain, College of Business
  7. Ashley Deutsch, Assistant Professor of Marketing, College of Business
  8. Jessica Zemlak, Assistant Professor, College of Nursing
  9. Dinesh Sabu, Assistant Professor, Digital Media and Performing Arts, College of Communications
  10. Lora Reinholz, Instructor of Practice, Finance, College of Business
  11. Alexandre Martins, Assistant Professor, Theology, College of Arts and Sciences and College of Nursing
  12. Lucas Torres, Professor, Psychology, Colleges of Arts and Sciences

Dialogue Series and Events

Summary of Foundational Activities

  • Hold monthly meetings to build community among Marquette faculty, community organizations and stakeholders and to develop the foundational constructs of the initiative. (First meeting fall 2021–present)
  • Supported a dialogue and event series, including hosting Social Development Commission (SDC) leadership and presenting at the SDC’s Summit on Poverty. (2021–22 academic year)
  • Arranged two networking socials to engage internal faculty, external partner researchers from University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and community members passionate about the impact of poverty in our community. (2021–22 academic year)
  • Foster relationships with the SDC; Benedict Center; UWM’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Missionary Currie for Women and Children. (2021–present)
  • Developed mission and vision. (Summer 2022)

Policy Institute for Poverty and Institutional Racism - September 30, 2021 – 10-11am – Virtual Event

Dr. George Hinton, President and CEO of the Social Development Commission (SDC), and panelists  discuss their plans for the establishment of a Policy Institute for Poverty and Institutional Racism.  

Click here to view the recording of this event. 

Panelists include: 

  • Dr. Lucas Torres, Professor, Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Commissioner Dr. Chia Youyee Vang, UW Milwaukee 
  • Commissioner Donna Brown-Martin, Milwaukee County Director of Transportation  
  • Dr. Keenan D. Grenell, CEO Global Capital Group LLC   

They overview their research and concept, as they consider transformative interventions and systems re-engineering related to poverty and the intersections of institutional racism. 

SDC Summit on Poverty - October 19-21, 2021

To learn more visit https://www.cr-sdc.org/event/2021-summit-on-poverty

Marquette Presenters:

Social Networking Event - June 16, 2022, 4:30-6pm, 707 HUB – 1102 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI

The Poverty Research Initiative team formally invites you to attend a social networking event to build community partnerships, join fellow Marquette and UWM (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) faculty and staff, and engage students in focusing on the issue of poverty in our communities. 

Our goal is to find areas of commonality and influence as we address our community activities surrounding the eradication of poverty for the specific purpose of developing collaborative relationships and research teams interested in partnering and potentially grant-seeking.

Attendees will have the opportunity to share short presentations to the audience describing their area of expertise/research and how this impacts poverty.  

Please consider joining, sharing your experience, networking, and having light appetizers and drinks.

Register here. 


Contact Us 

Are you a faculty or student interested in getting connected with the Poverty Research Initiative? Email innovation@marquette.edu

Are you a community member interest in getting connected with the Poverty Research Initiative? Email innovation@marquette.edu