PhD Student in Sociology, Yale University

Kalisha's headshot

Kalisha Dessources Figures is a PhD student in Sociology at Yale University, and a Dean’s Emerging Scholar at the Graduate School of Arts and Science. Her research interests lie at the intersection of race and gender, urban poverty, and social policy, with specific focus on the ways in which the education and justice systems produce inequality for youth. Kalisha intends to explore school-to-confinement pathways, and the link between exclusionary school discipline and incarceration. She is particularly interested in the role that (1) alternative education schools and (2) school resource officers play in school-to-confinement pathways.

Outside of her academic pursuits, Kalisha is also the consulting director of the National Philanthropic Collaborative of Young Women’s Initiatives, where she leads strategy for an initiative across eight partnering women’s foundations that focuses on the unique challenges and obstacles faced by young women of color. Previously, Kalisha served three years as a political appointee in the Obama White House, most recently as policy advisor to the White House Council on Women and Girls. There, she directed the policy portfolio on advancing equity for women and girls of color from 2015-2017. Kalisha also previously served as a math and science teacher in Philadelphia. She received her bachelors degree from Cornell University, and her masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.