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 director of the annual Hip Hop Youth Research and Activism conference. 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.
Kelly’s research focuses on adolescent critical literacy development, Black feminist theory, Hip Hop pedagogy, critical consciousness, and the development of critical, culturally sustaining pedagogies. Kelly’s work has been nationally recognized, including receiving the 2022 Nasir Jones Fellowship at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, the 2022 NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, the 2021 Save the Kids Hip Hop Activism Scholar-Activist of the Year Award, and the 2020 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Writing and Literacies Special Interest Group Steve Cahir Early Career Award.
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