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Esohe Osai

Esohe R. Osai, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Social Justice, Equity, and Community Engagement in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Osai operates as a community engaged scholar with an interest in how communities and schools can support social justice, healthy development, and well-being for children, youth, and their families. She privileges a social justice-centered, positive strengths approach in her community engaged praxis. Her research uses asset-based and critical lenses to understand and support opportunities for young people to thrive in the transition to adulthood. Fusing youth development with education policy and practice, she seeks to understand and support both school-based and out-of-school opportunities to enhance equitable learning opportunities youth in urban communities.

Dr. Osai is the founder of the Justice Scholars Institute, an equity-driven program that supports the post-secondary transition for youth from marginalized communities. Through JSI, youth are afforded opportunities to earn college credit and receive tailored support in navigating potential post-secondary pathways. Youth are also trained in how to use an engaged researcher lens to explore interests related to social justice and advocacy in their communities. Importantly, JSI operates in collaboration with schools to promote equitable opportunities in teaching and learning through teacher development initiatives and policy-focused efforts related to post-secondary access for educationally marginalized youth in urban schools. 

Esohe Osai earned her Ph.D. in education and psychology at the University of Michigan. Her doctoral thesis focused on the development of purpose for Black youth in urban schools and communities. Previously, Dr. Osai was a high school teacher in her hometown of Detroit. She also holds a B.A. in Education from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Osai's purpose is centered on enhancing livelihood and well-being for people in in urban communities.