Asian American Students in an Urban Public School District: Bridging Research, Policy, and Practice

Sumie Okazaki, a professor of applied psychology at New York University, will immerse herself in two vastly different organizations to observe how they limit and facilitate opportunities for Asian American youth.

In the first year, Okazaki will spend time with New York City’s Department of Education (NYC DOE) Research and Policy Support Group. During the second year, she will observe the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, an advocacy organization. At the NYC DOE, the district will experience a new mayoral administration as it continues its work to align assessments with the Common Core State Standards. Okazaki will be mentored by Simone D’Souza, executive director of the Office of Research, Accountability and Data, and Ailish Brady, director of the Research and Policy Support Group. At the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, Okazaki will be mentored by Vanessa Leung, deputy director. At both placements, Okazaki will participate in day-to-day activities and attend staff meetings. At the NYC DOE, she will also work with the Research and Policy Support Group on special and ongoing projects, meet with staff and administrators who are requesting and interpreting data, and help develop communication materials for families and other DOE departments. At the Coalition, she will attend briefings with policymakers, assist staff with policy briefs, update a factsheet on Asian American children in New York City, and work with youth and parent leaders on policy projects. Okazaki has spent the past 18 years studying how race, immigration status, culture, and interpersonal factors contribute to well-being and mental health among Asian American adolescents and young adults. Through this Fellowship, she hopes to develop research questions that are better aligned with the concerns of decision makers and practitioners. Given her influence in the research community, Okazaki has the opportunity to help other researchers create stronger bridges between research and policy and practice.

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