Written by: Stacy Hurtado, Media, Communications and Journalism student
Fresno State assistant professor will soon call Washington, D.C. home, as she prepares for her new role in Congress aiding in education policy making.
Dr. Dominiqua Griffin will begin her one-year congressional fellowship with the American Educational Research Association (AERA) on Sept. 1.
Every year, two doctorate-level education researchers are chosen as fellows where they have the opportunity to participate first-hand in the policymaking process and contribute their professional expertise.
Griffin shared why she decided to apply for this fellowship, “I know that it’s extremely important for counselors to serve as advocates, not only for their clients, but to show up as advocates within the community. For me it just felt so deeply personal and tied to the work that I was already doing.”
As a Central Valley professor, Griffin has worked to uplift marginalized groups through education, and plans to utilize her congressional fellowship to understand how to better implement federal policy in the Valley.
“A lot of the federal policies have a greater impact in some of the smaller communities that might feel overlooked or not necessarily know how federal policy ties into local governments,” said Griffin. “This would really help me in bridging that gap in some of the communities that we’re working in… Really tie in that work to community level and federal level policy changes.”
By understanding the connection between federal policy and local governments, Griffin stated, she can then work on improving funding allocation to increase opportunities for marginalized and minoritized students and families.
Griffin is no stranger to working with government officials. During her time researching school counseling and school/family/community partnerships, she consulted with the Barbados Ministry of Education.
“I have some understanding of working with different governmental agencies, but not domestically. This will give me the opportunity to really learn about our own political system and how laws have passed and how we can target our work towards policy and really make policy changes in education,” Griffin said.
This fellowship will give Griffin the opportunity to return to D.C., where her love of school counseling was born. “I love the D.M.V. [D.C., Maryland, Virginia] area,” Griffin shared. She worked her first school counseling job in D.C. after she earned her master’s degree in psychology and counseling services from Howard University. Griffin will be returning to what she considers a second home.
The year-long AERA congressional fellowship has fellows work on the staff of a member of Congress or a congressional committee.
According to Griffin, past fellows have said that the work has included writing memos and bills that have then been turned into laws. Griffin explained how research is connected to the policymaking process.
“Research is really what serves as the base for a policy and what the community needs. You have to look at the numbers and where you see the issues and problems lying within the community. That’s really where the research comes into play in terms of writing the policy.”
Griffin’s commitment to uplifting marginalized communities through education will continue into her congressional fellowship. “I want to look into mental health policy within K-12 education, and also helping students and colleges as well. I’d like to look at how some of the educational policies are impacting our under-resourced communities, especially communities of color.”