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Girls Inc. Fellowship: An Opportunity to Focus on Policy for School Psychology Doctoral Student


“My fervent hope for every student is that each would have a school where their needs are met,” says Anna Cait Wade, Ph.D. student in the school psychology program. Wade, who recently successfully defended her dissertation proposal, knows that part of making her hope a reality means being involved in education policy as well as professional practice. And now that she has begun the 12-month, $50K fellowship she was awarded to work at the non-profit Girls Inc., she is learning how to do just that. 

As a fellow, Wade is a member of the Girls Inc. public policy team which conducts policy advocacy and public education/outreach to advance the rights and opportunities of girls and young women, with a particular focus on girls from low income or underrepresented communities and backgrounds. More specifically, her fellowship work will address one of the four policy areas on Girls Inc.’s National Policy and Advocacy Platform: equitable access to education.

“I arrived at Fordham in New York City in 2019, when I started my doctoral program in the Graduate School of Education,” shared Wade. “I was particularly attracted to Fordham because of its social justice mission, and one of the first things I did was apply to be an after-school coordinator for Girls Inc. While the responsibilities of that position took more time than I had available as a full-time doctoral student, I knew I loved the kind of work they do. I was thrilled when the fellowship opportunity became available. It was the right time and the right fit.

While at Girls Inc., Wade will conduct research on restorative justice with specific emphasis on talking to girls of color about its implementation and implications. Her particular research interests are working towards racial equity and disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline, particularly for young women. Wade emphasized, “The Girls Inc. fellowship will give me the opportunity to translate my research findings into policy, and hopefully advance girls’ access to safe, quality education.”

Wade’s scholarly research will also result in an article submitted to a professional journal that identifies promising practices and policy recommendations to help further those recommendations. Finally, primarily in collaboration with the Girls Inc. Manager of Outreach and Activation and other public policy team members, she will create girl-led advocacy tools and build upon and sharpen her writing, research, analytical, and advocacy skills.

Initially, Wade decided to enter the field of school psychology to help students (especially those who are underserved) after a series of work and volunteer experiences made it clear to her that “emotional stressors can really impede learning.” Eventually, she would even like to open her own school or non-profit, and certainly wants to be a part of advancing a progressive education model that meets the needs of all students. 

Wade concluded, “I am excited to get started on using what I’ve learned at Fordham GSE to make a real difference for as many students as I can.” 

About Girls Inc. and the Public Policy Team
Girls Inc. inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through direct service and advocacy. We work with schools and in communities to provide the mentoring relationships, safe spaces, and evidence-based programming that are proven to help girls succeed. Girls build the knowledge, skills, and confidence to lead change in their lives and effect change in the world. Girls Inc. also works with and for girls to advance legislation and policies that increase opportunities for all girls, with a particular focus on girls from low-income communities and girls of color. Together with partners and supporters, we are building a new generation of leaders.


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