Nadirah Farah Foley is a PhD candidate in Culture, Institutions, and Society in the Education PhD program at Harvard. Rooted in sociology, Nadirah’s research explores issues of culture and inequality, especially how racism and social class shape cultural processes and students’ experiences. Nadirah’s current research focuses on demographic changes and inequality in the suburbs, but her interests run the gamut from understanding the role of elite institutions of higher education to investigating how family structure impacts students’ educational trajectories.
In large part, Nadirah’s research interests are inspired by her previous work experiences with students who identify as people of color, low-income, and/or first-generation, as well as her own experiences as a low-income black student in predominantly-white suburban schools and elite universities. While in graduate school, she has been a teaching fellow for a range of classes including a course on the history of higher education, an ethnographic methods seminar, and a module on racial identity development. She has also designed and taught her own course, a half-semester class entitled "Reconsidering Merit(ocracy)." Outside of the classroom, she serves as a coordinator of the Contemporary Studies of Race and Ethnicity workshop and as a research assistant; she has also served on the Harvard Educational Review’s Editorial Board (2016-2018; Content Editor 2017-2018).
Prior to coming to Harvard, Nadirah held positions with a college access non-profit, in undergraduate admissions, in student affairs, and with a bridge program for incoming first-year college students from underrepresented backgrounds. She holds an M.S.Ed in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and an A.B. in Classics (with honors) from Princeton University.