LOS ANGELES, March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kristan Venegas, associate professor of clinical education at USC Rossier School of Education, was named an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow for the academic year 2013-14, ACE President Molly Corbett Broad announced today. The ACE Fellows Program, established in 1965, is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing promising senior faculty and administrators for responsible positions in college and university administration. Venegas is the first woman and the first Latina from USC to be named an ACE Fellow. A research associate for the USC Pullias Center for Higher Education within USC Rossier, Venegas focuses on college access and financial aid for low-income students of color. She is a former James Irvine Minority Doctoral Fellow, ASHE/Lumina Dissertation Fellow, and USC Mexican American Alumni Scholar. Her most recently funded projects relate to the role of college preparation programs in providing financial information and graduate student loan indebtedness. "This is a well-deserved acknowledgement of Dr. Venegas' important work on college access for students of color," said USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher. "The school's mission of improving learning in urban education is greatly enhanced by Dr. Venegas' contributions, and I congratulate her on this national recognition." Fifty ACE fellows, nominated by the presidents or chancellors of their institutions, were selected this year following a rigorous application process. Most previous Fellows have advanced into major positions in academic administration, and more than 300 of the nearly 2,000 higher education leaders who have participated in the ACE Fellows Program since its inception served as chief executive officers of colleges or universities. More than 1,300 served as provosts, vice presidents and deans.