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Tara-Marie D

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at University of Southern California (USC)


Education, Public Policy, Racial Inequality


I recently earned my PhD in Urban Education Policy at the University of Southern California. My research areas of interest exist at the intersection of education equity, math education, and culturally relevant pedagogy. I view schooling through a lens of social justice, and my research uses qualitative and quantitative methods to study educational policies. I am most interested in racial inequities as well as the experiences teachers and students of color have in math classrooms. Before pursuing my doctorate, I studied psychology and education at Duke University. During my time there, I had opportunities to mentor high school students, volunteer in local classrooms, and was able to work and study abroad with students in Kenya and India. I also have served as a math teacher and after-school instructor for a non-profit organization. Following my time at Duke, I became an 8th grade math teacher in Brooklyn, NY.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Unsatisfactory Education Experiences

In this project, we would learn more about the factors that lead to students having unsatisfactory educational experiences and/or academic outcomes. We would work together to create interview and/or survey questions on what aspects of their educational experiences led to these outcomes. We would also seek to understand what interventions or tools could be put in place to create more favorable experiences and/or academic outcomes.

Predictors of Academic Success

Numerous data sets exist related to how students from different backgrounds (racial, gender, income etc.) perform on standard metrics of academic success (test scores, graduation rates etc.). Depending on the area of interest, we would work with the data set to determine how various student characteristics can predict certain outcomes as well as how different variables interact.

Coding skills

Stata, SPSS

Languages I know

Haitian Creole

Teaching experience

During my undergraduate experience, I served as a mentor for a student through her junior and senior years of high school. I assisted with getting her on track academically as well as with college applications. I also worked with a non-profit called Student U, where I served as a summer school teacher and an after-school instructor during the school year. After graduating from college, I taught 8th grade math at an all-boys charter school in Brooklyn, NY.


Work experience

Hofstra University (2023 - Current)
Assistant Dean for Diversity & Inclusion


Duke University
BA Bachelor of Arts (2016)
University of Southern California (USC)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Urban Education Policy

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