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Associate professor of education, University of New Mexico

Dr. Desai is currently working with the Albuquerque Public Schools (APS)-University of New Mexico (UNM) Ethnic Studies Education and Health Research Practice Partnership to study how ethnic studies is being implemented in APS, what are the challenges and successes of ethnic studies, and how do or can ethnic studies teachers promote healing and wellness. His other research area focuses on a Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) project with LOUD (Leaders Organizing 2 Unite & Decriminalize). LOUD members, comprised of system-involved and ally youth, utilized YPAR to inform new policies to shape a more humanizing juvenile justice system. This project also found that YPAR was empowering for youth because it fostered youth activism/advocacy and centered youth voices. Lastly, this project illustrated how youth overcame the trauma of the juvenile justice system by utilizing YPAR, sharing their stories, and engaging in culturally sustaining practices. His research draws upon critical race theory, critical literacy, and decolonizing/Indigenous methodologies. Dr. Desai received his Ph.D. in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles, a Masters in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a B.A. in Psychology and Urban Planning from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.


  • 2012–2014
    Assistant Professor, Thomas More University
  • 2010–2012
    Project Director, Ohio State University