Student Spotlight: Jomaira Salas Pujols (Sociology)

  • March 3, 2021
Research & Scholarship


Jomaira Salas Pujols is a Ph.D. candidate in our Sociology program under the mentorship of Dr. Zaire Dinzey-Flores. We had the opportunity to ask Jomaira a few questions about their current research and funding opportunities:

Why did you choose Rutgers for your graduate training?

I wanted a place that valued the kind of research I do.

What are you currently working on, and why is your research important?

My research examines how Black girls draw on their movement through place to challenge educational inequality. I’m especially interested in looking at how Black girls come to recognize and critique policies and practices that unfairly target them, and how they leverage these discoveries to reimagine education.

Which fellowships and grants have you received as a graduate student?

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2017)

Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship (2021)

 AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship in Education (2021)

AAUW American Dissertation Fellowship (2021)

NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship (2021)

Because I can only take one fellowship this year, I will take the Ford and decline the others.

How has this funding helped you to succeed in your research?

The NSF-GRFP funding has given me time to focus solely on my research. As a result, I’ve developed a fairly complex dissertation project and deep and extensive relationships with young people at my research site. It has allowed me to develop a true community-engaged project where I can have twin roles— ethnographer and youth worker.

I’m also really excited about this upcoming Ford fellowship which will give me the time to write my dissertation and collect additional data for the book project. And of course, being part of the Ford network of fellows has long been a dream of mine.  

Would you like to say something about the experience of working with GradFund or a specific advisor/peer GradFund mentor?

Yes, I’m especially grateful to Alexandria Smith, Maria Elizabeth Rodriguez Beltran, and Teresa Delcorso-Ellmann for their feedback and support. They helped me craft strong application materials which made me competitive for these awards.

What advice would you like to share with students who may be applying for fellowships and grants?

Always apply! Don’t say no to yourself