Ph.D. in Sociology, 2016
School of Education
May 1, 2009
Graduate of Boston University School of Law Aspires to be Advocate-Scholar
Edelina Burciaga is a first year doctoral student in the Educational Policy and Social Context (EPSC) specialization. Her passion for social justice, racial equity, and education can be traced back to her parents’ and grandparents’ experiences as farm workers in Texas and California’s Central Valley. Edelina grew up not only hearing stories about her parents’ disenfranchisement from the education system, but also about their educational successes as a result of equal opportunity and affirmative action policies of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Her parents’ experiences, coupled with her own experiences as the only Latina student in her high school honors courses, led Edelina to begin asking in high school the fundamental question that has guided her professional and academic pursuits: How do we make our education system just and equitable?
This question has been shaped over time by Edelina’s work with communities of color in California, Texas, and Massachusetts. After completing her undergraduate and master’s degrees at Stanford University, Edelina worked as a program coordinator in a youth mentoring program. Through this work, Edelina witnessed firsthand the myriad pressures that young people face. The majority of the children and youth on her caseload were referred by juvenile probation officers, most often as a result of their behavior in school. It was at this time that Edelina started to think about the intersection of the educational and legal systems. This experience took her to the Boston University School of Law, from which she graduated in 2005.
In law school, Edelina seized the opportunity to develop her advocacy skills. She honed these skills through a fellowship with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI), a public interest law firm. As a fellow at MLRI, Edelina developed an advocacy campaign aimed at education reform in a small school district in central Massachusetts. Edelina also joined other education advocates in statewide reform efforts aimed at decreasing high school pushout rates, increasing the effectiveness of bilingual education, and examining the school-to-prison pipeline. In 2007, Edelina was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to the subcommittee on Public and Private Higher Education of the Readiness Project, a group charged with creating a ten-year strategic plan for education in the Commonwealth.
Edelina’s current scholarly interests lie at the intersection of law, education, and race and ethnicity. Edelina has three broad areas of interest: community mobilization and collective action for education reform; the disparate impact of school discipline policies and practices on students of color; and undocumented student access to post-secondary education. Edelina is currently working with Dr. Leticia Oseguera examining the implications of state-level policies and recent case law on the admissions practices of community college administrators.
Edelina aspires to be an advocate-scholar and hopes to continue working with communities of color to make our educational system fair, equitable, and just.