PhD in Sociology of Education

Anindya Kundu Full Bio

Headshot of Anindya Kundu

Email Address:

Expected Date of Graduation: 2017-18

Please describe the focus of your research:

I'm studying human agency and learning how students overcome personal and structural obstacles to succeed. Often sociology takes the strong structural view that social origin is the primary determinant for future outcomes, but my work shows how this can be oversimplified. My qualitative research studies students who defy expectations by succeeding academically and professionally, despite grave initial disadvantages. I am greatly interested in the concept of "grit," because both social and individual characteristics are necessary to hypothesize about increasing the agency of students. I believe we should be more socially gritty and realize that education is our primary collective responsibility.  

Professor or scholar who has influenced you the most:

As I enter my fifth year, I am beyond grateful for the mentorship of my chair, Pedro Noguera and adviser, Lisa Stulberg. They have helped me develop my methodological and analytic skill sets as a sociologist while also fostering my passion to remain a lifelong learner and teacher. I am also grateful for UPenn professor, Angela Duckworth, who is also on my committee and has strengthened my work through constructive feedback and kindness. 

Picture of Anindya Kundu drinking coffee with a blue sky in the background


Interviewed by JSTOR Daily, "Students Don't Just Need Grit, They Need Agency." June 8, 2016:


Kundu, Anindya. "Achieving Agency: Regaining Collective Responsibilities for All Students to Succeed.” Rowman and Littlefield. (Forthcoming Book, 2017).


(Forthcoming) Kundu, Anindya. “Agency and Grit: Considerations for Low-Income Black Males to Achieve Greatness.” Michigan State University Press. 6th Edition. 2017.

(Peer Reviewed, Forthcoming) Kundu, Anindya. "Grit and Agency: A Framework for Helping Students in Poverty to Achieve Academic Greatness." National Youth-At-Risk Journal.

(Peer Reviewed) Kundu, Anindya. “Growing Roses in Concrete: A Perspective on How Agency and Grit can Foster the Success of All Students.” The Journal of School & Society, 18-31. Issue 3(2). 2016. 

Kundu, Anindya. "Review of Closing the Education Achievement Gaps for African American Males." Teachers College Record, Date Published: August 09, 2016. ID Number: 21591.

"Regaining the Collective Responsibility Needed for Our Students to Succeed" New York State ASCD, October, 2014:

Kundu, Anindya. "BACKTALK Grit, overemphasized; Agency, overlooked." Phi Delta Kappan 96, no. 1 (Sept. 2014): 80-80.

"Why America's Infatuation with "Grit" Can't Solve Our Educational Dilemmas," Virginia Policy Review, Summer 2014. Co-authored with Pedro Noguera.

“Digital After School Programming as Prevention: Positive Outlets for Youth Expression in an Increasingly Hi-Tech World,” Published by Center of Applied Research Solutions, Prevention Tactics, February, 2014:

Popular Press

"Leading with Conviction: Empowering the Formerly Incarcerated to Strengthen Democracy, Inside-Out." Post on Huffington Post, August 11, 2016:

"The Case For Closing Rikers Island." Post on Huffington Post, June 30, 2016:

"What to Make of Steph Curry, the NBA's Unanimous and Gritty MVP." Post on Huffington Post, May 11, 2016:

"Why We’re Not “Beyond Race.” And Why Black Lives Matter." Post on Huffington Post, March 11, 2016: 

"Inspiration in Insomnia: Resolving to Turn Dreams Into Realities." Post on Huffington Post, December 31, 2015:
"Policing Schools and Dividing the Nation". Post on Huffington Post, October 28, 2015: 

 “No Student should have to be ‘White Enough’ to Succeed in School.” Post on Huffington Post, September 23, 2015:

"Feeding Kids and Expanding Opportunity." Post on Phi Delta Kappan, June 19, 2015:

"Putting focus on individuals hurts society." The Philadelphia Inquirer. Friday, May 8, 2015:

"Breaking through concrete," Post on Phi Delta Kappan, May 6, 2015:

"American schools: Still separate, still unequal." Post on Phi Delta Kappan, May 15, 2014:

"Gritty Educations." The Third Rail, April 15, 2014.

"Why Students Need More than 'grit'" The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring, 24 Mar. 2014. Web. Co-authored with Pedro Noguera:

"Why Students Need More than 'grit'" NBC News Digital, 02 Mar. 2014. Web.  Co-authored with Pedro Noguera:

"Executing Schools and Killing Opportunity," Post on Phi Delta Kappan, November 7, 2013: 

Teaching Experience:

Image of Anindya Kundu teaching an undergraduate classAdjunct Professor
American Dilemmas: Race, Inequality, and the Unfulfilled Promise of Public Education, Fall 2016

Adjunct Professor
Social and Cultural Reproduction: Research on Urban and Minority Youth, Spring 2016

Adjunct Professor
American Dilemmas: Race, Inequality, and the Unfulfilled Promise of Public Education, Fall 2015

Adjunct Instructor for Professor Pedro Noguera, Graduate Level Course
Social and Cultural Reproduction: Research on Urban and Minority Youth, Spring 2014

Co-Adjunct Professor
American Dilemmas: Race, Inequality, and the Unfulfilled Promise of Public Education, Fall 2014

Adjunct Instructor for Professor Pedro Noguera
American Dilemmas: Race, Inequality, and the Unfulfilled Promise of Public Education, Fall 2013


Closing Speaker at University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Learning, Designing for Difference Conference. "Provoke Student Voice, Agency, and Deeper Learning." May 19, 2017.

Participant for NYU’s 12th- Annual, Martin Luther King Oratorical Contest hosted by NYU Graduate Student Committee. February 7, 2017.

"American Educational Research Association (AERA), National Annual Meeting. April 27 - May 1, 2017. Paper, accepted for presentation. "Adding a Social Perspective to “Grit”: Investigating How Disadvantaged Students Navigate Obstacles and Gain Agency."

University of Pennsylvania, Duckworth Lab. April 16, 2015. "Examining the Agency of Disadvantaged Students: How Young Adults Navigate Obstacles." Presentation to lab on preliminary research framework, methodology, and current context in education.

American Libraries Association (ALA), Mid-Winter Conference. Sunday, January 25, 2014. “A Digital Frontier: America’s Learning Labs and YouMedia Sites.” Presented to national audience and ALA with Richard Arum. Presented initial findings from first 18 months of on-site research and interviews. Philadelphia, PA.

National Learning Labs Convening. Thursday, July 25, 2013. “Lessons Learned from Cohort 1: Challenges and Advice.” Presentation given to national audience of Cohort 2 Learning Lab Grantees. Pittsburgh, PA.

Picture of Anindya Kundu giving TED talk

Fellowships and Awards:

2017 Recipient of NYU Steinhardt School "Outstanding Doctoral Student Teaching Award"

TED Residency Program
Awarded spot in TED Residency Program for Spring 2017 Cohort. Residency runs from March 2017 – June 2017 to work on independent projects and end with a TED talk.

Research Fellowship
MacArthur Foundation Funded, New York University Project

I worked with Principal Investigator Dr. Richard Arum on a multi-method, multi-level study called Connecting Youth: The Digital Learning Research Project. I served as the lead coordinator for documenting the design and implementation phase of Learning Labs throughout America. Through a flagship initiative, these Labs have been funded in libraries and museums to engage youth through mentor-led, interest-based, collaborative experiences that use digital and traditional media. In addition to project-planning duties, I conducted qualitative interviews and ethnographic observations for our team.   

Steinhardt Doctoral Fellowship
Steinhardt School of Culture, Education & Human Development

The Steinhardt Fellowship in Education provides full tuition support, an academic stipend for four years, and dedicated mentoring to promising Ph.D students at New York University.

What are your career goals?

To be in a position that requires learning as well as teaching something new, every day.

What do you like the most about the Sociology of Education program at NYU Steinhardt?:

I enjoy being surrounded by my diverse group of faculty and peers that have a vested interest towards bettering the current educational landscape. Their enthusiasm, commitment, and creativity are contagious.