Heller Profiles

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Callie Watkins


PhD candidate

Understanding inequality in order to end it

Callie Watkins seeks to act, not react, in the face of social injustice

As an AmeriCorps community planning associate at Boston's Fenway Community Development Corporation, Callie Watkins worked alongside residents in community organizing, developing affordable housing and advocating for services for low- and moderate-income residents. While the work was rewarding, the Harvard and Cornell graduate continued to feel the drive to do more than react to the effects of social, economic and racial inequalities.

Seeking to gain skills and do the type of research that would allow her to address the root causes of issues she encountered in her work, Callie chose Heller's PhD program. "I was drawn to the assets and inequalities concentration because I believe it is an opportunity to get at the core of inequality to understand how to change it," she says.

Just months into the program, Callie is confident that Heller was the right decision. "Even though I'm only in my second year, I have experienced significant growth. I'm in a very different place now than when I walked through the door and I'm positive I will develop the necessary skills and experience to develop research and policies that contribute to ending urban inequality."

Callie credits her growth thus far to the research and conferences she has explored as well as coursework, and in particular, the Heller faculty. "I love how open and approachable the faculty is. Everyone I've met really seems to value students while also producing really interesting work on their own. I definitely feel like the faculty in my concentration know me as an individual and are invested in my success."

Knowledge Advancing Social Justice

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