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RSF Grant Supports Research on Youth Poverty, Housing and International Migration

October 27, 2023

Maxwell sociologist Sean J. Drake is exploring the neighborhood and school experiences of refugee and other migrant youth in Syracuse and New York City.

Sean J. Drake

Sean J. Drake

Sean J. Drake, assistant professor of sociology, has received a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation to research the experiences of youth who have faced persistent poverty and housing insecurity.

Drake is principal investigator for “Out of Sight: An Ethnographic Study of Student Poverty and Homelessness in New York State.” Using the $30,000 grant, he is employing a combination of observational and interview methods to study how housing insecurity makes school unstable and challenging for children and parents. Drake is also studying the ways in which community-based organizations can enhance the agency, academic engagement and academic achievement of refugee students and other underprivileged youth.

The funding was provided by the foundation’s pipeline grant program that seeks to promote racial, gender and disciplinary diversity in the social sciences. It is offered in collaboration with the Economic Mobility and Opportunity Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Drake has previously researched educational inequality and school segregation that affects students of color and lower-income students. In his first book, "Academic Apartheid: Race and the Criminalization of Failure in an American Suburb" (University of California Press, 2022), he unveils hidden mechanisms of racial segregation and resource inequality in an affluent, suburban school district.

Drake is a senior research associate at the Center for Policy Research, a faculty affiliate in the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan and a faculty fellow at the Yale Urban Ethnography Project. His research focuses on racial and ethnic inequality, neighborhood and school segregation, childhood poverty and homelessness, and international migration. 

By Michael Kelly

Communications and Media Relations Office
200 Eggers Hall