Virginia Diaz-Mendoza
Counseling Faculty

The Graduate Center  - PhD 

John Jay College of Criminal Justice  - MPA

City College of New York - MA in Psychology

Lehman College  - BA in Psychology


Virginia Diaz-Mendoza is a member of the Counseling Faculty in the SEEK Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). SEEK (Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge) is an opportunity program for high school students entering the City University of New York. Eligible students are provided financial, academic and counseling services as they complete their undergraduate degree. Many SEEK students excel academically and go on to pursue advanced degrees after graduating. At John Jay, SEEK is an academic department that offers credit bearing courses in Education and Justice where students have an opportunity to closely interrogate public education systems in the United States as they reflect on issues of educational inequity and racial injustice. Together with students, Virginia engages in a collaborative process where students actively participate in shaping the course and their learning experience. Virginia Diaz-Mendoza is a licensed mental health counselor and her research interests include restorative justice, educational equity, student leadership development, and organizational effectiveness. She recently completed a two year evaluation of the implementation of restorative justice as an alternative to punitive discipline in New York City public schools. Findings support the use evidence based restorative justice practices for mediating conflict, healing harms, and improving school climate and culture. Virginia currently serves as the SEEK Counseling Coordinator and is charged with the evaluation and assessment of counseling services offered by the department. In that role, she works with SEEK Counselors to provide evidence based trauma informed counseling and advisement services. Using empowerment evaluation to deeply reflect on the counseling and advisement services offered by the SEEK department, she partners with SEEK Counselors on continuous quality improvement of their practices. Some of her professional interests include curriculum development, research that informs practice, and overall institutional effectiveness. Virginia is actively involved in developing policies and practices that promote educational access, mental health wellness, and academic success for historically marginalized student groups.