Daishar Young

MA in Educational Studies: Educational Policy and Leadership (LEADPOL)

Daishar  Young, School of Education

Student Status: Current student, full time

Geographic Region of Origin: East Oakland, California

Previous Education: 

Graduated from University of California, Berkeley in 2013 with a B.A in Anthropology and a concentration in Medical and Cultural Anthropology

Prior to Joining the Program

Prior to joining the program I was a College Advisor with the Destination College Advising Corps (DCAC) through the University of California, Berkeley. I worked out of Castlemont High School in Oakland, CA and was primarily responsible for advising a cohort of 150 students. I also shared college-related information with all 560 students in grades 9-12, including details on college admission requirements, the application process and financial aid.

In addition, I taught financial literacy courses for seniors as well as a tailored course specific to African American males. I led the College Collaborative, a network of college access teams at Castlemont High School that exists to ensure all students participate in a college access program and receive the necessary information. This collaborative, along with community partners, led college access workshops for over 1,000 participants during the time of my leadership.

Why the Educational Leadership and Policy (ELP) Program? 

I chose the ELP program at Michigan because I wanted to grow personally by challenging myself in a new environment. After graduation, I intend to work for an educational access program and ultimately create my own college access program for high school-aged youth in Oakland, CA. The purpose of my program will be to offer holistic services, with focus areas in academics, social-emotional counseling, health awareness, financial literacy and business etiquette. My primary objective for my time in the ELP program is to learn about various educational systems (e.g. college access programs, public, private and charter schools) in order to incorporate them into my own program.


I intern with the National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) as a Program Administrator and Research Assistant. Last semester I worked primarily on the NCID Growing STEM initiative, and also assisted with programming related to preparing future faculty. I’m currently creating databases of university research organizations with missions and goals similar to those of NCID. Additionally, I find and create content for the communications team to strategize around how to make educational research useful and effective in practice to non-experts. This content is shared through the NCID's Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

Individualized Course of Study

Courses I have chosen include:

In my first semester I selected more research-based courses because I wanted to challenge myself academically. In the second semester, I chose more hands-on, program-oriented courses in order to put my learning into practice. I think the most important thing when selecting courses is to research professors who share your interests. Also, you are most likely to enjoy courses that sound interesting to you, so choose those!

Highlights of the Michigan Experience

Highlights of my experience have been:

Some words of advice:

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

First, relating to my identity, it has been trying at times as the only black male in the ELP cohort this year and sometimes as the only male in a particular course. I constantly grapple with two dichotomies: speaking for oneself vs. representing the black community and correcting my classmates’ preconceived notions vs. allowing them to learn new truths on their own.

I will note that my professors were very accommodating of me and other students who needed time to recuperate in the wake of the November 2016 U.S. election. It also helped knowing that members of my cohort also cared deeply and were prepared support or defend me.

My internship provided an eye-opening experience that allowed me to see a link between diversity in higher education and college access for students of color. In working at NCID, I saw how research by scholars of color in academia can lead to the implementation of policies and practices that positively impact students of color at the K-12 level. Thus, one way we can increase college access is to increase the research opportunities for diverse scholars at postsecondary institutions.

Daishar invites prospective students to contact him with questions about his experience in the program, diversity in education, student and/or navigating life away from home as a student of color.

Young’s program of study:
Educational Leadership and Policy