Lauren Leigh Kelly is an Assistant Professor of Urban Education in the Urban Social Justice Teacher Education program at Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education. She is also the founder of the annual Hip Hop Youth Summit at Teachers College, Columbia University. Kelly taught high school English for ten years in New York where she also developed courses in Hip Hop Literature and Culture, Spoken Word poetry, and Theatre Arts. She also taught Hip Hop Literature at Five Towns College in New York; English Composition at Medgar Evers College, The City University of New York; and the Teaching of English at Teachers College, Columbia University. Additionally, Kelly provides professional development for teachers developing Hip Hop pedagogies in K-12 and college teaching across the United States
Kelly received her bachelor's degree in English from Wesleyan University; her master's in Adolescent Education from St. John's University; and her Ph.D. in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, where her dissertation focused on teaching for social justice through critical Hip Hop literacy.
As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Boston University, Kelly studied the development of critical consciousness amongst high school students. Her previous research investigated critical media literacy as a lens through which young people can better understand, navigate, and influence their social and cultural environments. Currently, Kelly's research focuses on adolescent critical literacy development, Black feminist theory, critical consciousness, and the development of Hip Hop pedagogies.