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I am doctoral candidate in Sociology at Rutgers University and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research (NSF-GRFP) fellow studying race, place, Black girlhood, and education.  

My dissertation "Black Girls’ Journeying: Identifying and Challenging (In)justice through Movement" examines how movement through place informs the racial identities, meanings of self, and injustice perceptions of high school-aged Black girls. Using ethnographic methods, I trace how multi-ethnic Black girls in the New York City metro area move between and navigate four formal and informal educational spaces— homes, schools, social media, and an afterschool program in the New York City metro area. 

About Jomaira

In order to capture the dynamism of Black girls' experiences, I propose the theoretical concept of journeying, which I define as the physical and symbolic movement that Black girls engage in as they enter, navigate, and exit these multiple spaces of inclusion and exclusion. I also argue that journeying is the source of Black girls' perceptions and critiques of injustice, which are informed by their movement through the urban landscapes they navigate day-to-day.  

My dissertation makes a number of contributions to sociological research on race, gender,  place, and education. First, it challenges existing research on urban social isolation by tracing Black girls' movement through multiple institutional sites and arguing that this moment is a critical part of how they engage in activism and self-makings. Second, my work identifies the racial lessons that educational spaces teach Black girls, thereby urging sociologists to look beyond academic outcomes in studies of schooling. Lastly, this research shifts the sociological lens to examine space and place, not as static, but as always informed and mediated by individuals’ movement through and engagement with other spaces. 

My other research projects focus on the racialized legacies of punishment systems in schools and Afro-Latina youth identity. In one project, I analyze how school administrators make sense of  bullying and discipline as two divergently racialized systems of punishment. The other theorizes a Black Latina epistemology to survey research. 

I have taught courses on the sociology of race and gender at Rutgers University. And, as a youth worker, I have taught workshops on the sociology of education to high school-aged youth. 

I have also worked for the Posse Foundation, developed curriculum and facilitated workshops at the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, served on strategic planning committees at Girls Inc., and co-chaired the Bryn Mawr College Board of Trustees' Equity & Inclusion working group.