Teachers College, Columbia University

Ava Mateo, Research Assistant

Ava Mateo is a research assistant at CCRC working on projects related to English learners and community college finance. She is also a first-year master’s student in the Sociology and Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Mateo holds a degree in liberal arts with a concentration in education from Sarah Lawrence College. Driven by the pressing need for educational justice, Mateo’s work is focused on understanding and combating the inequities of the American public school system, from funding disparities and high-stakes testing to the school-to-prison pipeline. She is an advocate for socially conscious, active, and engaged public education. In addition to her work at CCRC, Mateo is the community engagement director for a youth-led organization 18by.vote. In this role, she designed and launched 18by.vote’s inaugural Youth Civic Engagement Fellowship, which engaged 22 young people from 11 states during the 2020 election.

Supported by the unique educational structure at Sarah Lawrence, Mateo paired academic research with work in the nonprofit sector throughout her undergraduate education. She is invested in the power of education to tackle racial and socioeconomic inequalities. To that end, she interned for Friends of WHEELS, an organization that provides college access and success support to predominantly first-generation students in Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood. Additionally, Mateo was the education policy intern for the Yeardley Love Foundation, where she researched healthy relationship education programs in schools across the United States.