Research.

Research for National College Access Network (NCAN) on college students and financial aid.

If you click here, you’ll get a list of a bunch of articles that NCAN has published. The one I wrote is at the bottom, and it’s titled “Financial Aid Eligibility Mindsets Among Low-Income Students: Why Do Some Believe They Can’t Receive Financial Aid for College?” (October 2016)

To go directly to the article, you can click here but be warned that clicking that link will automatically download the PDF.

And can I just say, look at how my name is all the way at the bottom of the list of names of “editors and contributors.” I wrote this paper (and never met the folks above my name)! Kind of funny how that works. I mean… can I at least get credit near the top? #Politics and #firstworldproblems.

Previous research in the land of Academia.

Dissertation (University of Chicago) 
TEACHING ‘NEKA: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF TEACHER-STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS AT ONE HIGH-ACHIEVING URBAN PUBLIC SCHOOL

Positive teacher-student relationships, particularly in urban minority public schools, can reduce dropout rates for at-risk students, increase attendance, and even encourage the development of positive life skills. While we know that these relationships are important, the literature on teacher-student relationships lacks practical understandings of how teachers construct positive teacher-student relationships in context, particularly when individual differences such as age, race, class, and gender present obstacles that teachers must navigate.

This dissertation research study illuminates the skills and behaviors some teachers utilize to create and maintain their successful relationships with students at Delaney Prep, a large urban public school with a high concentration of first and second generation Caribbean black students. Ten teachers with varying degrees of success, and twenty of their secondary school students were interviewed and observed throughout the school year in order to determine a) how successful teachers formulated successful relationships with students at Delaney Prep; b) what minority students at Delaney Prep wanted from their relationships; and c) whether individual teacher characteristics contributed to teachers’ ability to create positive teacher-student relationship experiences for their students at Delaney Prep.

Previous research.
THE PERSONIFICATION OF “BLACKNESS”: A SOCIAL EXPLORATION OF KINKY HAIR TEXTURE AND RACIAL CLASSIFICATION

Scholarship on race and racial inequality in the Americas has consistently focused on the differences between Brazilian and North American racism, yet black women throughout the Western Hemisphere have historically received (and continue to receive) similarly negative responses from non-blacks, as well as from African-Americans in reference to their hair. Previous scholarship in both the U.S. and Brazil has not empirically examined black hair texture, dissonance, and discrimination, and instead has often focused mainly on skin color for the basis of empirical stud. Although it is clear that skin color has been, and continues to be an important factor in discrimination, it begs the question of why persons of other ethnic backgrounds with similar skin tones are not equally discriminated against, or in the same ways as African-American women (in both North and South America). Though other brown persons may various forms of discrimination in the West, because it is not historically similar, it is not realized in the same way. Because hair texture has not been examined in this manner, this project uncovers a very fundamental stage of exploration, noting whether or not individuals use hair texture as a mechanism to determine “blackness”, and what types of symbolism and character stereotypes are assigned to persons with kinky hair. Once hair texture can be identified as a tool utilized in racial classification, we can begin to link it to issues of “blackness”; “abnormality” and feelings of difference; dissonance; cognition; stereotype; and eventually inequality, and life course success.

NEO-SOUL HAIR: HOW IDEOLOGICAL BEAUTY AND BLACK HAIR POLITICS IN THE UNITED STATES AFFECTS THE VALIDITY OF A MUSIC-BASED MOVEMENT (2008)

In Deconstructing the Ideology of White Aesthetics,John Kang states, “Because Whites are the dominant group in America, they dictate what is beautiful. The consequence of this power dynamic is that the dominant group, Whites, can exercise preferences in deciding how to look or express themselves, whereas people of color are limited to either conforming to an imposed White standard or rejecting it” (Kang: 283). Kang further states that “Because White people can enjoy the freedom to prefer certain aesthetic styles over others, they can enjoy the ability to make private fashion statements for amusement, but people of color are often pushed into the political arena of racial defiance or submission through such simple acts as hair-straightening procedures” (Kang: 295). The construction of Neo-Soul is reflective of Kang’s assertion regarding the limitations of aesthetic choices, and racial defiance. Employing Kang’s argument on race and aesthetics as the foundation, and applying Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of doxa, this research demonstrates how stereotypes surrounding natural Black hair have played, and continue to play a large role in the construction of the Neo-Soul music genre, and in the construction of the Neo-Soul movement as a whole. This research explores Black hair politics, and assumed Black hair politics, as well as assumed Neo-Soul politics. Further, I argue that a Neo-Soul classification diminishes the potential of an assumed political movement based on Black hair that would otherwise include Black persons with all hair types.