Lisa Kulka is a doctoral student in the educational culture, policy and society focus area in the Graduate School of Education at the University at Buffalo. Lisa’s research agenda utilizes a quantitative approach to identify viable strategies for dropout prevention and graduation of at-risk youth of varying backgrounds in the Buffalo community.
Lisa has made outstanding contributions to the field of dropout prevention as the former assistant director of the UB Liberty Partnerships program. During her tenure, Lisa created several community-wide initiatives that focused on closing achievement gaps for Buffalo Public School District students in fifth through twelfth grades. Lisa’s most successful initiative, the “I Can Go to College!” summer program, provided middle school youth with a residential, mock-college experience on the University at Buffalo’s North Campus. The initiative is still in existence today, and Lisa has won awards for quality of programming in her career, including the prestigious Nancy Welch Award.
Currently, Lisa is in the process of launching the “I Can Go To College!” app, providing innovative, gamified virtual engagement of middle school students in the college admissions process, as well as YouthForce of Western New York, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing high-demand workforce readiness skills of high school students entering our local job market. Lisa’s ultimate professional goal is to enhance the professional trajectories of historically underrepresented youth in our region through collaborative community programming.