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Beginning her tenure on July 1, Amalia Dache is the first tenured, female, Latinx professor in the Graduate School of Education. (Photo from Penn GSE)

Amalia Dache is the Graduate School of Education’s first tenured, female, Latinx professor.

Dache announced the news of her professorship via Twitter on February 27, and she began her tenure on July 1. Dache’s research focuses on how historical challenges and racial demographics influence access to higher education in places such as Havana, Cuba; Cape Town, South Africa; Ferguson, Missouri; and her hometown of Rochester, New York.

She received a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2020 for her research paper titled “Mapping Public Housing and Urban Higher Education Accessibility and Enrollment in Philadelphia.”

Dache told AL DÍA News that the area she grew up in was low income and had very few educational resources.

Dache received a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from SUNY Brockport State College in 2003 and received a master’s degree in Liberal Studies from SUNY Empire State College in 2009.

“Starting grad school, I learned that Latinas were approximately 0.003% of doctoral degree holders in the United States,” she told AL DÍA News. “Learning this statistic and living through my family’s history fueled me not only toward roads untraveled, it fueled me to surpass every educational milestone.”  

After receiving a PhD in Educational Leadership from the University of Rochester in 2014, Dache was awarded the Association for the Study of Higher Education’s Bobby Wright Dissertation of the Year award.

Dache was also awarded the University Research Foundation grant in 2020 for her research project titled “Mysteries at the Bottom of the Ocean: A Racial and Political Hemispheric Analysis of Education and Economic Mobility for Cuban Nationals and Refugees.”

Dache told AL DÍA News that being a role model to doctorate students was important to her, especially as an Afro-Cuban American scholar.

“Although I was successful at navigating higher education, not seeing or identifying with teachers always made me feel like I was an outlier,” Dache told AL DÍA News. “It was huge to have a role model and have someone to share and wanted to mentor me and believe in me and I wish I had it earlier, who knows what might have happened if I had that role model earlier.”