Doctoral Student Spotlights

Adam Gaynor

Education and Jewish Studies

I chose this Doctoral Program Because:
I chose this program because it is one of the few doctoral programs in education and Jewish studies in a major, secular research university. As a result, it draws a diverse cross-section of educators from the Jewish community, and benefits from close collaboration with colleagues working in the wider world of education. In Jewish education, we struggle with how to balance the particular and the universal; how to forge Jewish identities within a world of near limitless possibilities. As a Jewish educator at NYU, I navigate that exciting challenge in every class.
My academic passion is:
Multicultural theory and practice; Judeo-Arabic history
In 5 or 10 years I hope to:
Influence educational policy as both a researcher and practitioner
One of the things I enjoy doing in New York City when I'm not being a doctoral student:
Weekend mornings in Prospect Park with my kids
A hobby I have is:
My favorite place to get coffee or eat around NYU:
Focus of my research of scholarship:
Jewish education in the 1990's and the nexus between philanthropy and educational policy
I'm interested in this topic because:
Philanthropy seems to play an increasingly prominent role in educational policy, but the topic has remained largely invisible
Academic or other experience that most influenced my choice of doctoral study:
As director of a Jewish educational agency, I have discovered that communal educational policy is a fraught topic
Research or scholar I most admire:
Sander Gilman
Professor who has influenced me the most:
Jonathan Zimmerman
Scholarly presentation of my work I'm most proud of:
Training teachers on theoretical paradigms and practical methods through which to teach Middle Eastern/ North African history
What I like most about being part of a community of doctoral students:
The range of interesting and current research topics, most of which push me to think outside of my area of expertise

Background Information

Where you grew up:
New York City
Career Goals:
Direct a philanthropic foundation or research center
Honors, Awards, and Achievements:
Pi Lambda Theta, National Honor Society of Educators, 2010 36 Under 36: The Next Wave of Jewish Innovators, The New York Jewish Week, 2008 Professional Leaders Project Academic Fellow, 2007 Edward Feder Peace Prize, JTS, 2002 UJA-Federation Dressler Scholar, 2001
Other professional or service activities:
Executive Director, The Curriculum Initiative (