Name: Maria Williamson Ramirez
Program: Sociology of Education
Research Interests: Black matricentric feminism; Antiracism and anti-bias in education; Access to Higher Education for non-traditional students of color and adult learners; retention of parenting women of color in academia; racial representation in recruitment of students, faculty, and staff; the feminization of poverty; supporting student mothers in higher education; Black feminist theory.
Principal Advisor(s): L'Heureux Lewis McCoy
Research Description/Bio: Maria is the Director of Equity Initiatives at NYU Steinhardt where she supports anti-racism and equity work at the School. This work includes interrupting inequitable practices in academic departments; facilitating listening sessions between community members; examining school policy and making recommendations that ensure gender, racial and other social parity; and building community amongst faculty, students, administrators and staff. She also is the co-founder of the NYU Mothers of Color group that aims to provide support and advocacy for members of the NYU community that identify as working women of color with children; serves on the NYU Global Inclusion Officer Council; was the Chair of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Womxn and Work Taskforce; and served on the NYU Disabilities, Inclusion and Accessibility Working Group.
Maria also consults K-12 schools, higher education institutions, community based organizations, and other teams on anti-racism and anti-bias at the interpersonal, institutional, and structural/systemic levels. Her background as a racial justice activist and advocate for womxn of color with children has allowed her to publicly lead conversations on these topics in various public demonstrations against police brutality, Town Halls organized by local community organizers, on social media in live discussions, and on various podcasts. See “The Honor Student'' by The Doubleshift Podcast, “The Power of Diversity'' by The Food Dignity Podcast, and the NPR Morning Edition interview centering Black women during the pandemic.
Maria is a Steinhardt alumna of the Higher Education and Student Affairs graduate program, and her scholarship focuses on supporting student parents from minoritized groups on college campuses - with presentations at the NASPA and NYU Student Affairs conferences. She has the lived experience of being a student parent in both undergraduate and graduate programs and continues to advocate for institutional, state, and federal policy change. She holds a BA in History from Misericordia University, where her senior thesis was a comparative analysis on the liberation of enslaved Africans during the American and Haitian Revolutions. She currently resides in Clifton, NJ with her family.