Graduate School

Harbin Received Ruth Simmons Scholarship

Master’s student LaShanda Harbin is the Ruth J. Simmons Urban Education Policy Scholarship recipient for the 2020-2021 academic year.

LaShanda HarbinHer goal after graduating is to implement larger-scale changes within educational systems. “When education policies do not reflect the needs of all students being served, even the best teachers, principals, and counselors will struggle to create truly equitable learning environments,” says Harbin.

Harbin identifies as a Black, queer scholar from the South Side of Chicago. She graduated from Bowdoin College in 2018 with a degree in both African American Studies and Education. During her time at Bowdoin, she developed an interest in conducting education research. For a fellowship and senior honors project, she wrote seven chapters total about the history of violence in Chicago’s Black communities, how that violence affects students and staff, and violence prevention policies in Chicago public schools over time. After graduating, she returned to Chicago to spend time working directly with the students and communities. Working through the Schuler Scholar Program, she mentored and tutored high school students at Westinghouse College Prep for two years.  

At Brown, she says, the Urban Education Policy (UEP) program “is equipping me with both the quantitative and qualitative skills I need to carry out the work I am most passionate about, both on the ground and in academia.” She also enjoys the many opportunities to interact with influential education policy scholars through frequent guest lectures. Harbin feels the program is providing training that she can use to dismantle oppressive educational systems and hopefully build new systems that are truly inclusive. As she begins work as an intern with iMentor - Chicago, she is very excited to apply the skills she has learned in her classes to the real world.  

Next year, she will be starting the Educational Policy Studies doctoral program at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where she will continue building the skills to improve educational opportunities for marginalized children. Harbin says, “whatever I decide to do, I will always be fighting for the rights and inclusion of Black, queer, low-income, and otherwise marginalized youth.”