Ashanta Woodard is a native of Detroit, Michigan, and a proud product of the Detroit Public School system. She graduated from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where she earned her Bachelors of Arts in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience, with a minor in Community Action and Social Change through the School of Social Work.
Her interest in education reform piqued after taking an education psychology and policy course, where she realized her passion for education equity, representation, and access. Those values coalesced with her personal academic experiences to spark her journey to increase STEM retention among African American students.
Ashanta immersed herself in the world of education beginning with studying abroad the summer of 2016 in Beijing and Xi’an, China where she conducted education psychology research on the achievement gaps between American, Chinese and Japanese preschoolers. Since graduating, Ashanta has worked to increase successful college transitioning at the University of Michigan, provided “at risk” academic intervention in several Metro Detroit high schools, and assisted with Ypsilanti Community School Districts’ efforts for higher academic performance.
In January of 2017, Ashanta ventured to Washington, D.C. to become a Star Fellow with Running Start, an organization focusing on increasing the number of young women in politics. As a Star Fellow, Ashanta interned in the Office of Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) providing research, administration support, and co-planning and co-hosting the inaugural conference for the Congressional Black Caucus on Black Women and Girls held in New Jersey. The research she conducted on education policy for Rep. Coleman’s legislative staff coupled with her hands-on work cemented her commitment to become the liaison between education practice and policy. Ashanta looks forward to transforming the conservative face of Higher Education, to one representing diversity and inclusion.