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‘Open to Reimagining Things:’ Ashley Smith-Purviance G’14 Discovered Her Passion for Educational Policy at Syracuse


Ashley Smith-Purviance G’14 Ashley Smith-Purviance’s G’14 interest in researching education systems and policies—and especially their impact on youth of color and Black girls—stems from her study abroad experience while completing an M.S. in higher education at the Syracuse University School of Education.

“My visit to Brazil with the School of Education was eye-opening,” she says. “It made me want to explore a Ph.D. because we were studying youth experiences with disabilities and what challenges students face within the educational system. This made me feel like I needed to take a step back and examine K-12 youth experiences.”

Since completing her doctoral degree in educational policy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Smith-Purviance has served as an assistant professor in the Black studies program and the department of public and community service studies at Providence College in Rhode Island. In fall 2022, she will transition to The Ohio State University as an assistant professor.

As she explains in further detail below, Smith-Purviance chose Syracuse’s higher education master’s program because it felt both welcoming and allowed for deep reflection. “Attending SU set me on the path that I am on now,” she says. “My research looks at Black girls’ experiences in schools with discipline, but […]

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