Name: Laura Assanmal Peláez
Program: Sociology of Education
Research Interests: Restorative justice, abolitionist pedagogy, Central & South American youth, undocumented students in the NYC public school system, and students with interrupted formal education
Principal Advisor(s): L'Heureux Lewis-McCoy
Research description/bio: Laura is a Ph.D. student in Sociology of Education at NYU Steinhardt’s School of Culture, Education and Human Development. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Research & Public Policy with a minor in Political Science from NYU Abu Dhabi in 2021.
Born and raised in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, she is interested in the experiences of newly arrived Central & South American youth in New York City. Additionally, she writes, thinks and intends to research restorative justice, abolitionist pedagogy, and non-carceral approaches to harm in the classroom.
At NYU Abu Dhabi, Laura was involved in institutional efforts to provide comprehensive educational opportunities for migrant and contracted university staff. She has worked with ENLACE (Engaging Latino Communities for Education) at the Bronx Institute at CUNY Lehman College, the Washington Office on Latin America, and tutored newly arrived immigrants at Brooklyn International High School.
In NYC, Laura spends much of her time involved in mutual aid organizing to support undocumented, newly arrived individuals navigate the city and access legal aid.
Selected Awards: Laura was recently awarded the 2023 Graduate Student Award for Summer Research on Migration, awarded by the NYU Migration Network. In this project, she explores how arrived Venezuelans create meaning of their existence in a city where they encounter oppressive geographies and the constant threat of deportation. This project draws upon visual autoethnographic practices and participatory photography, and will culminate with a community-driven, youth-led photography exhibit which hopes to shed light on these undocumented youth’s first few months in the city.