Brandeisians Are Connected: At the Head of the Class

Smiling woman with curly hair, wearing a beige cardigan and dark turtleneck, stands in front of a plain light-colored background.
Mike Lovett
Denezia Fahie ’22

Who: Denezia Fahie ’22, a triple major (education, African and African American studies, and sociology) from Worcester, Massachusetts.

What she’s passionate about: “Studying educational inequity in urban education. How do different groups experience and navigate education, and how are they shaped by their education?”

Where she discovered this: Fahie was among a small group of undergraduate and grad students led by Derron Wallace, assistant professor of education and sociology, in a research project that examined survey responses from more than 17,000 families with children enrolled in the Boston Public School system during the pandemic. “We looked at how different groups experience their education on the basis of their social ecology.”

What she’s discovered: “To take what I have learned about urban schools abstractly and do something practical through this research project was an amazing opportunity. It is exciting to think the work I did resulted in real change. My greatest takeaway? It’s important that all families feel their voices matter. Families of color don’t necessarily believe that, and we need to investigate why.”

Who’s on her team: “I could not have done this work without the support of my team of fellow students and Professor Wallace, my adviser and mentor. To be honest, I could write a bible about how Professor Wallace has influenced my life. He saw me struggle in my freshman year, and he sat down with me and went through the content until I understood it. He’s supportive and deeply invested in his students. He really helped me transform my trajectory at Brandeis.”

Next chapter of her story: “I want to do research. I always knew I had good teaching skills, but the Boston Public School project showed me I can do both.”

Actionable advice: “It’s incredibly important to build a core team of people on your side — academic peers and good advisers. And forge your own path. Brandeis has the resources to help you pursue your interests.”