The Urban Education Research Collective

Wendy Luttrell is a sociologist committed to social justice research, especially in the field of education. She is a Professor at the CUNY-Graduate Center in the Urban EducationSociology, Critical Social Psychology and Women and Gender Studies programs.  She currently serves as the Executive Officer (Chair) of the Ph.D. Program in Urban Education.  Wendy’s research focuses how gender, race, class and sexuality-based systems of inequality get internalized, especially by marginalized students in school settings  She is the author of three books on this topic, School-smart and Mother-wise: Working-Class Women’s Identity and Schooling (1997); Pregnant Bodies, Fertile Minds: Gender, Race and the Schooling of Pregnant Teens (2003) and Children Framing Childhoods: Working-class Kids’ Visions of Care (Policy Press, 2020). Throughout her career, Luttrell has directed community-based, university, and teacher inquiry projects that promote innovative research and teaching practices, as well as curriculum development initiatives.

Dr. Whitney Q. Hollins is an advocate for children who have a parent involved in the justice system. As the daughter of a formerly incarcerated parent, her direct experience has led her to explore the ways these children navigate and negotiate the unique set of circumstances that incarceration presents. As a researcher and educator, she believes that teachers play a vital role insupporting children with a justice involved parent. Hollins currently works as an early childhood instructional specialist, an adjunct instructor at various CUNY colleges and a consultant at We Got Us Now. She is also a member of the Justice Across Generations SpeakersBureau through The Osborne Association. She holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education from the CUNY Graduate Center. Her dissertation focused on children who have justice involved parents with an emphasis on lived experience as expertise. She recently published a children’s bookfeaturing a character with an incarcerated parent titled Anna’s Test. Whitney invites you to connect with her on her website

William Salomon Orellana is an Ecuadorian father of three, husband, social justice educator, photographer, 4th year doctoral student at CUNY, and an educator, activist and community organizer for the past 20 years.   His areas of focus and research are in Critical Philosophy of Race, Critical Race Theory, Critical Latino Parenting, Social Justice education and Pedagogies of Love in Urban Classrooms. William received his B. A. in Latin American Studies from SUNY-New Paltz and his M.S. ED in Special Education from LIU-Brooklyn, and he currently teaches Sankofa, Justice studies and history at the El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice High School in Williamsburg Brooklyn. William is currently finalizing a KickStarter funded Young Lords Project, where former Young Lords share their wisdom and longings for justice, hope and humanity.  William is a leader in the NYC Help-Portrait project, where volunteer photographers share the gift of photography with underserved communities throughout NYC. 

Mieasia Edwards is a native of Harlem, NY committed to creating sustainable, systemic and equitable change through action, planning and policy. Mieasia began her journey to advance educational equity as a New York City public school teacher. Thereafter, her students excelled when she became the founding principal of an elementary school in Queens, NY, and a school-turnaround principal in her hometown, Harlem, NY. She presently serves more than 8,000 students and families in Community School District 5 as a principal coach. Mieasia holds a B.A. in Political Science and African-American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a M.s.Ed. in Teaching from Pace University, and School Building and District Leadership certifications from Bank Street College of Education. Mieasia is continuing her journey to advance educational equity with a focus on transformation and justice as a PhD student at The Graduate Center, CUNY in the Urban Education program.

Kelly Brady is in her  7th year as an NYC public school teacher, and currently a PhD student in Urban Education at CUNY.  Kelly is an adjunct professor at City College in their MA in Educational Theatre program, and has served as a teaching artist and former Director of Education with Drama Club, NYC, a non-profit providing theatre training to incarcerated youth.  Kelly is a board member of the New York State International Thespians Society, and is an Arthur Miller Foundation Fellow.  She holds an MsEd from Pace University, a BFA from the University of Evansville, and an MFA from NYU.

Nga Than is a PhD student in sociology at City University of New York – The Graduate Center. Her research interests are in social media, computational social science, international migration, and sociology. As a mixed-methods scholar, she has conducted qualitative research using interviewing, as well as employing machine learning to analyze text data, and administrative data. Her research has received support from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Taiwan’s Huayu Enrichment Scholarship, CUNY – Pre-dissertation Fellowship, and CUNY – Provost’s Digital Innovation Grant.

José Jiménez is the Principal of A.C.E. Academy for Scholars, a public elementary school in Queens, New York. He is an Urban Education Ph.D. student at the CUNY Graduate Center where his research focuses on the intersections of race, class, gender and sexuality of LGBTQ+ educators who self-disclose their identities in their classrooms and schools and the impact it has on themselves, their students, and their communities at-large. He has degrees from New York University, Brooklyn College and Canisius College.

David R. Rosas works in education to bring about liberation through education by partnering with children, their families, teachers, school-based staff members, and community organizations in historically marginalized communities of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, immigrant, and/or working-class folks. His work in education is based on fostering critical consciousness and self-determination with young people by focusing on culturally-relevant curriculum design and development, developing positive and restorative practices in classroom communities, and partnering with families to share strengths-based practices in service of their children’s learning. David is in his 21st year as an educator and has worked as a teacher in grades K-7, an instructional coach, assistant principal, and principal in elementary schools. Additionally, he advises pre-service school leaders at Bank Street College of Education and Teachers College, Columbia University. His doctoral work focuses on critical-race teacher change agents in elementary schools as they leverage their politicized work with young, racialized children to dismantle elements of whiteness. 

Ghina Abi-Ghannam is a graduate student from Beirut, Lebanon currently pursuing her PhD in Critical Social Psychology at the City University of New York. She holds an MA in General Psychology, with emphasis on Social/Political Psychology, from the American University of Beirut. Broadly, her research interests include the study of resistance, (de)colonial violence, and social movements. In her work, ghina follows a multimethod approach, grounded in principles of decolonial theory and historical materialism. Previously, her research was dedicated to investigating the gap between intentions and behavior in political collective action. More recently, ghina has been involved in participatory action research and decolonial, social psychological investigations of violence and resistance in the global south.

Thanks to the Mellon Seminar for Public Engagement and Collaborative Research led by Kendra Sullivan at the Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center for project support.