Jessica Forrester

Jessica Forrester

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate

Office Location

Ridley Hall 269
405 Emmet Street S
Charlottesville, VA 22903


Jessica Forrester is a Mellon Postdoctoral Researcher working directly with Youth-Nex and the Youth Action Lab. Prior to joining the University of Virginia, Jessica earned a Ph.D. in STEM Education from the University of Minnesota as well as a bachelor's and master's degrees in biomedical engineering. Her dissertation work combined her interest in STEM engagement with justice-oriented practices in education to create culturally responsive mathematics activities for an after-school tutoring program in North Minneapolis. Specifically, qualitative and community-based approaches were utilized to acknowledge community assets and in turn value those assets during mathematical learning to influence students’ identity development, skills development, criticality, and joy.

While a doctoral student, Forrester earned two University-wide and equity-based fellowships: the Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE) Fellowship and the Leadership in Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity (LEID) Fellowship. She was also involved in the Josie R. Johnson Engaged Dissertation Fellows Program (University of Minnesota) and the Emerging Engagement Scholars Workshop (Engagement Scholarship Consortium), both of which focused on the development of community-engaged scholars. These fellowships and organizations embody Forrester’s scholarship and research interests, which are centered on action-oriented methodology, community engagement, and equitable advancements in mathematics education. In addition to mathematics education research, Forrester explores equity and justice through youth participatory action research and mentoring networks. 


Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 2022
M.S., Virginia Commonwealth University, 2016
B.S., University of Virginia, 2013