Laura Ruth Johnson
Associate Professor, Educational Technology, Research and Assessment
Laura Ruth Johnson has spent a quarter-century observing the lives, struggles and triumphs of young parents in Chicago.
Throughout those years, the associate professor in NIU’s Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment has seen many young parents thrive in spite of a lack of programs that could help them.
“Some of them are missing school to work, but not because they don’t value education,” says Johnson, who joined the NIU College of Education in 2006. “It’s because they’re extremely responsible. Some are working an extra job to provide for their children or help their parents pay the rent.”
Johnson previously served as director of the Family Literacy Center in Paseo Boricua, a Puerto Rican community located in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.
Her home base has provided a fertile ground for research into her interests that include the experiences and beliefs of Latina adolescent mothers, mentorship and school-based support programs for young mothers and youth civic engagement within minoritized communities.
The author of “Community-based Qualitative Research: Approaches for Education and the Social Sciences” recently took a sabbatical to National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan, where she explored the importance of grassroots and local knowledge in addressing pressing issues and concerns.