Jenni Menon Mariano is an associate professor in the College of Education and chairs the secondary education and literacies curriculum area. After developing a peace-building program in post-war Bosnia in response to the United Nations International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, she became a pioneer in the field of purpose development. Dr. Mariano earned her PhD from Stanford University where she was a member of William Damon’s research group and worked on the first youth purpose studies. As a Positive Psychology Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania she examined life purpose in the well-known Study of Adult Development, which is arguably the longest study of adult development in the world. Also, as a scholar on the Good Work Project run by the Stanford Center on Adolescence, Jenni studied how individuals accomplish work that is both excellent and ethical.
Dr. Mariano’s scholarly work appears in a wide range of leading journals and practitioner publications. She serves on the editorial board of Applied Developmental Science, and is a frequent reviewer for several other journals including the Journal of Positive Psychology, the Journal of Research in Adolescence, Developmental Psychology, Child Development Perspectives, the Journal of Youth Development, and the Journal of Research in Character Education. Jenni’s research on positive human development has been funded by grants from the Florida Campus Compact, the Spencer Foundation, and the John Templeton Foundation. She currently collaborates with scholars around the world. Jenni’s framework rests on the idea that the development of a noble life purpose is foundational to our well-being, dignity, and equality. She is dedicated to developing top notch research and programs that help all people develop and realize a sense of purpose in their lives.