It's been a minute, but here we are: the newest installment of a series featuring badass women who are working hard to improve their communities and enact positive change in the lives of those around them. Up next: Pavithra, the director of research, strategy and policy at the Center for Public Research and Leadership at Columbia University's Teachers College, as well as an education reform activist, researcher, and Ph.D. candidate studying gender and race. Pavithra was also one of the national organizers of the March for Public Education in 2017.
Welcome, Pavithra! Can you tell us what you are currently working on?
Through my job at the Center for Public Research and Leadership, I am working on a qualitative evaluation with the Gates Foundation's K-12 Networks for School Improvement Strategy. The goal is to get different schools to come together to share information, to share best practices and uncover problems so they can implement solutions that lead to improved outcomes for students.
For my Ph.D., my dissertation is on how boys, specifically boys of color, come to understand their masculinity and identity in single-sex schooling. The school where I did my data collection focused a lot on self-regulation: all about image and behaviors and regulating movements. I think a lot of that reflects the broader cultural understanding and worry about Black boys - make sure you're in the right place at the right time, make sure you look the "right" way so you don't get stopped by police, all that kind of stuff. It may be well-intentioned but it can have the effect of punishing boys for having divergent expressions of masculinity.
Welcome to our first installment featuring badass women who are working hard to improve their communities and enact positive change in the lives of those around them. Through this series, I hope to spotlight the important work being done by some amazing women, the paths they took to get to where they are now, and the ways in which they practice self-care and avoid burn-out.
First up: Bahar, a clinical fellow and supervising attorney for the Criminal Defense Clinic at CUNY Law School.
Welcome, Bahar! Can you tell us what you're currently working on?
Right now, I'm a Clinical Fellow and supervising attorney at the Criminal Defense Clinic at CUNY Law School. Our mission is to train social justice lawyers and in the Criminal Defense Clinic, we teach our students to think broadly about the criminal legal system. It was precisely this thinking that led us to clemency and parole work, so I am currently working on helping incarcerated individuals obtain clemency from Governor Cuomo.