Andrea is an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Knoxville – College of Social Work. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a PhD in social work. Her research focuses on interventions to address racially disproportional school suspensions. She is especially interested in the creation of inclusive schools and the ways school staff and school social workers use cultural competence to support inclusive school environments.
She attributes her doctoral aspirations to the Urban Education Program at Westfiled State University in Massachusetts where she received her BA in Psychology and Mass Communication in 2005. During this time, she was also Ronald E. McNair Scholar. Subsequently, Andrea worked as senior education advisor for federally funded TRIO Educational Talent Search program advising over 150 students annually. She primarily assisted under-served and underrepresented youth with pursuing their post-secondary goals.
Thereafter, Andrea received her MSW from the University of Connecticut focusing on social justice and international social work. This training led her to work for he Anti-Defamation League of Connecticut as assistant project director where she planned and facilitated anti-bias training for students and adults reaching over 20,000 participants a year with a cadre of trainers. Planning and facilitating these workshops shaped her doctoral research interests on racialized inequities within school systems. Applying an international lens to her research, Andrea was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to the United Kingdom where she earned a MA in Social Justice and Education focusing on racially disproportional suspensions in the UK.
Upon returning to the United States, Andrea’s dissertation utilized critical race theory to problematize racially disproportional suspensions in US schools. She also investigated the use of restorative practices as an intervention to address the discipline gap. Andrea now works as an assistant professor of social work at the University of Tennessee – College of Social Work.