Joel Arce ’08

Company / School: UMass Amherst and Westfield State University Amherst, MA

Position / Degree: Graduate Editorial Assistant and Visiting Instructor


  • BA, Political Science, Vassar College
  • MA, Social Studies Education, Lehman College at City University of New York
  • PhD (Pending), Social Justice Education, UMass Amherst

Joel A. Arce (he/him) is a PhD candidate in the College of Education at UMass Amherst. His research examines the neoliberal and dehumanizing conditions that pervade the educational experiences of (racially) minoritized youth in the U.S. Prior to his doctoral studies, Joel taught middle school social studies in the Bronx and also worked alongside youth in New York City through different nonprofit organizations that emphasized project-based learning and college access programming. In recent years, he has supported educators and youth in a variety of capacities, including: after-school student programming grounded in the principles of YPAR (youth participatory action research); teacher professional development; curriculum development; and schools/community/higher education partnership development. Joel is currently in the process of completing his dissertation, which is an ethnographic case study that provides context-specific insights around the tensions, limitations, and possibilities of implementing Ethnic Studies in secondary public schools.

Advice to Students:

Be open to change and embrace the learning/un-learning process that continues in “life after Vassar.” It’s okay to shift gears professionally when your personal goals and priorities change and don’t align with how you originally envisioned your career/post-undergraduate life. Reflection is a valuable tool, professional or otherwise. And while it’s easier said than done, try to build a strong, healthy practice of work-life balance that emphasizes self-care to actualize your passion and commitments.

Comments are closed.