Remembering Professor and Colleague
Memorial and Reception to Honor Juliana Raskauskas
Former students of Juliana Raskauskas knew her as “Dr. R,” the kind of professor who connected academics with everyday life and whose inspiration saw them on a journey to become child development educators. One of her closest colleagues remembers their shared dedication to anti-bullying education. “She inspired me to try to make the world around me better. I know that working with her made me a better academic, and a better colleague,” says Dr. Todd Migliaccio, a sociology professor at Sacramento State. Dr. Raskauskas died last month at the age of 40.
Dr. Raskauskas was a faculty member in the Child Development Department, with a doctorate in educational psychology. She also taught in the Child Development degree completion program coordinated by the College of Continuing Education. She helped to build the program by interviewing candidates for cohort instructors, who were part of the instructional team.
One of her former students, Tammy Stevens, says Dr. Raskauskas was “a great inspiration” as she earned her master’s degree. Stevens shares this remembrance:
“I had the privilege of taking a few classes from her and she was a great teacher, mentor and friend to everyone in her classes. The thing I will remember most is her great sense of humor. She had a way with words that kept everyone involved, thinking and loving the subject. I also got to enjoy Dr. R while teaching in the cohort program. My students loved her easy style of lecturing and learned a lot from her. She is gone too soon, and my heart goes out to her family and friends. The educational community lost a great one.”
Another former student, Aileen Lord, says Dr. R was one of her favorite professors, too. In her tribute, she writes:
“As her past student, I looked forward to her lectures. She presented her lectures in a way that was comedic and academic at the same time. I don’t know anyone else who can do that. It was also wonderful to listen to her stories about her sister and parents. We all could relate and somehow it connected our world to hers. So we all learned and had fun doing it! Her passion and commitment to her research and students inspired many of us who are in the field of child development. When I was given the opportunity to return to the College of Continuing Education as a cohort instructor, knowing Juli was still part of the program, I was honored to be able to work with her. She was always there to help and offer words of wisdom. She will be greatly missed and always remembered. As she always says in closing….. “’Cheers, Juli.’”
Dr. Migliaccio will be speaking at Friday’s memorial service. He and Dr. Raskauskas developed an anti-bullying education program through the College of Continuing Education. Bullying was personal for her. ”She saw the bullying within her own world and wanted to change that,” he says. “Juli believed that bullying persisted because we allowed it to endure. That our culture permitted it to fester. That it went unchallenged. This spurred her to do whatever she could to understand it, educate about it and to challenge it.”
Dr. Migliaccio adds a final thought:
“What I have always believed is that Juliana Raskauskas is the colleague I wanted, and was lucky to have found. The one I think we all desire to get an opportunity to get to work with. And hopefully, the one we all endeavor to be. Juli was a beautiful person, an amazing colleague, and an even better friend.”
The Child Development faculty will hold a celebration of life for Dr. Raskauskas at the Harper Alumni Center on the Sacramento State campus on February 12. The opening reception starts at 1 p.m., the service from 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m., with a social hour from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Attendees are asked to RSVP through this link.