Ph.D. Students

Melissa Marini Svigelj
  • Title
    • PhD Candidate
  • Division Graduate Studies Division
  • Department
    • Education Department
  • Affiliations Sociology Department
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • McHenry Library, 0282
  • Mail Stop Education Department

Biography, Education and Training

Melissa Marini Švigelj-Smith (pronouns she, her, hers) was an educator in Cleveland (Ohio) public high schools for two decades and taught high school students at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center during four of those years. Her blog is part of a national network of education bloggers, and her posts have been featured on national and state education blog sites. Interviews with Melissa can be found in the archives of the Rick Smith Radio Show, It’s About Justice local radio show, on the podcast Quote Unquote, and in news articles in the The Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio’s KQED blog, Mindshift. She has been asked to present at conferences nationwide, and to consult on education policy locally and nationally on behalf of students entangled in the juvenile justice system.

Selected Publications


Švigelj, M. M. (forthcoming 2021). The "radical" dream of liberation and humanization in a juvenile detention center. In T. Kress, R. Lake, & E. Stein (Eds.), Radically Dreaming: Illuminating Freirean Praxis in Turbulent Times (Chapter 26). New York, NY: DIO Press.


Švigelj, M. M. (forthcoming 2021). Opportunities for Hope are Created. In M. W. Cole, S. M. Madison, A. D. Henze, & J. Sosnowski (Eds.), Flying Kites: Narratives of Prison Literacy in Essays & Art (pp. -). New York, NY: DIO Press.



Švigelj, M. M. (2021). “Irrational Numbers” in “Special Issue: Black Aliveness, Solace & Solidarity” in Interim, 37.3-4. 

Selected Presentations

Webinar Social and Emotional Learning for Traditionally Underserved Students (Presenter)

From the American Youth Policy Forum website: Social and emotional learning (SEL) plays a critical role in preparing young people for success in college, careers, and life. In order to ensure that SEL benefits all young people, it is important to consider how SEL initiatives affect traditionally underserved student populations and how they can be tailored to better meet the unique needs of different learners. This webinar featured a deep discussion of the importance of SEL for three traditionally underserved groups: students with disabilities, English language learners, and youth involved in the juvenile justice system (justice-involved youth).

Cleveland: A Community Committed to Our Children 2018 (Presenter)

From the Case Western Reserve University Schubert Center for Child Studies website: In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Schubert Center for Child Studies at Case Western Reserve University, the Center is convening individuals committed to child well-being in order to promote healthy child and adolescent development by exploring the context of how children grow up. Specifically, “how do we make environments effective and equitable for all of our children?” This includes an explicit focus on addressing inequities and disparities that impact children and families and our community’s home-grown solutions. Video