Launching Community Research with Justice Scholars Institute

Hey everyone! My name is Victoria Malomo and I will be participating in a Community Research Fellowship this summer. I’m partnering with Justice Scholars Institute (JSI) as well as A+ Schools Pittsburgh, under the faculty mentorship of Dr. Osai. I am also so privileged to be working alongside another CRF fellow, Megan Hanlon. On the grand scheme of things, my research will be investigating how various educational disparities present themselves for African American students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) system. But I plan to narrow down my scope to investigate how these educational inequities specifically affect post-secondary access and outcomes. Before I dive more into my research, I would like to introduce myself a little more!

I am currently a rising junior from Rochester, NY. While I can say that I prefer the comparatively “milder” winters of Pittsburgh, Rochester will always be one of my favorite places and my forever home. I love to go on walks around my hometown and watch sunsets on bike rides along The Erie Canal.

I am majoring in Applied Developmental Psychology in Pitt’s School of Education, in the Combined Accelerated Studies in Education (CASE) program. Whilst immersed in the School of Ed, I am also working towards earing my ASL Certificate. When I am not drowning in schoolwork, I love to write songs, sing covers, and can spend hours playing the guitar.

I am so honored and thrilled to be working with JSI this summer and look forward to supporting their mission of providing more equitable opportunities for all students regardless of zip code and to also join in on their work of using educational equity as a means of attaining social justice.

While I don’t have a concrete idea of what my academic future holds or how it will play out exactly, I do know that I am deeply interested in studying educational policy across all grade levels. I am passionate about studying how current educational statutes can be revised and improved to create a more effective learning experience for students, regardless of the neighborhood they call home or which school they attend. Whether that be through pursuing a law degree or spending time as an early childhood educator in the classroom or perhaps even in a Deaf school, I know I can rest assured that the research I complete this summer will help mold the framework for my future research and academic pursuits. Through working with JSI and A+ Schools Pittsburgh, I will be able to better understand how the separate and yet unequal educational realities for Black students attending local Pittsburgh schools are perpetrated and investigate methods to lessen these disparities.

I’ve titled my research “’The Tale of Two Cities’ in Pittsburgh’s Public Education System,” and I am interested in creating a qualitative narrative of how these differences in schooling experiences present themselves, while also relying on quantitative metrics. Much of the educational research I’ve been exposed to via class assignments or readings focuses mainly on targeting educational disparities that are manifesting in the present and finding ways to prevent them from occurring again in the future. But I hope to frame my project using a somewhat historical lens to target the root of how they came to be in the first place to gain a deeper understanding of how they can be remedied going forward.

I look forward to posting updates and personal reflections from my research on this community blog, and am eager to learn more from my peer CRF fellows’ research experiences!

One Comment Add yours

  1. staciedow says:

    Great post, Victoria! I definitely love your quotation marks around “milder”! 🙂 Excited to see how your project progresses throughout the summer and how students can use it in the future!

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