College:College of Sciences
Degree Program:Sociology PhD
Research Focus:Intimate Partner Violence, public policy, and social inequalities
First-generation student and soon-to-be triple knight Julio Montanez has been a student at UCF for over a decade. Since coming to UCF for his undergraduate degree in 2011, Montanez has built himself a home at the university.
While working on his bachelor’s in Political Science and Sociology in 2012, Montanez volunteered in an office that provided services to victims and survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). He was inspired by the hard work that the advocates poured into helping others. “After answering some hotline calls, I realized that “on-the-ground” work is quite emotionally taxing and that my efforts to help victims and survivors; may be spent by taking a “backseat” approach,” he says. “So, in the Summer of 2014, I started an honors undergraduate thesis in Sociology focusing on attitudes toward IPV and opinions on IPV-related policies.”
Montanez chose to remain at UCF for his graduate degree, saying the university is like his second home. “From leadership to mentors, to peers—my program has very kind people in it. The world can be a tough place to navigate, and it is always helpful to know that there is a refuge somewhere,” he says. He completed his master’s degree in Applied Sociology in 2022 and is currently working on his PhD in Sociology.
Today, Montanez’s research revolves around the intersection of public policy, intimate partner violence (IPV), and social inequalities. Some research projects he has been involved in include state laws on intimate partner violence and immigration; the intersection of IPV, state law, and poverty; attitudes toward IPV; and others. The projects that he is most proud of and that he hopes to make the most significant impact with include an entry in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice and a book on IPV, which he worked on with Drs. Amy Donley and Amy Reckdenwald.
Montanez appreciates the support he has received at UCF, extending his gratitude to Robert Bass, Professor Alison Cares, and Drs. Terri Fine, Amy Donley, and Amy Reckdenwald. “I wouldn’t be this far in an educational journey without such guidance and support,” he says. He also credits Multicultural and Academic Support Services (MASS) with granting him a scholarship and making him aware of the honors in the major program that led him to his current research.
Aside from his altruistic drive, Montanez’s primary source of motivation to continue his work is his family. “They’re my number-one reminder that life is a gift,” he says. He advises his peers to cherish life, lean into passion projects and hobbies, and not let a day slip by. When he is not conducting research, Montanez is a drummer and loves to work on the things he is most passionate about.
After obtaining his doctoral degree, Montanez aims to become a professor, attain a Juris Doctor degree, and cultivate a life he can be proud of.
- Working on his third degree at UCF
- Published entry in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice
- Published book "Between systems and violence: State-level policy targeting intimate partner violence in immigrant and refugee lives"
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