Currently, I serve as the Director of Equity and Inclusion at Vistamar, a college preparatory independent school in Los Angeles, California. I also continue to serve as a diversity consultant in secondary and higher education, working with school administrators to develop inclusive programs and trainings for students, staff, and faculty audiences. To design effective and meaningful curricula, I draw on my previous professional experiences as a college educator, a university administrator, and a diversity practitioner.
After receiving a dual BA in history and religious studies at Berkeley in 2006, I left California to pursue a PhD in history at Princeton University. My dissertation examined the role of gender and family in shaping the immigration process in France at the start of the twentieth century. Like most graduate students, I spent most of my doctoral career in the basement of the university library. But I was also fortunate to spend two years in Paris conducting archival research for my project.
When I returned from Paris, I eagerly re-engaged with campus community life by seeking out graduate leadership positions at Princeton’s Writing Center, its Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, and within undergraduate residential life. Most significantly, I served as a mentor and graduate leader for the Freshman Scholars Institute (FSI), a summer academic bridge program for first-generation, low-income college students. Without a doubt, my experience working with FSI students in summer 2012 determined the shape of my career.
Even before receiving my PhD in 2014, I had taught European and World History courses at The College of New Jersey, The Cooper Union, Mercer County Community College, and Princeton. Across all these institutions, I had come to realize that the majority of my students were often, like me, from first-generation, working-class, and/or minority backgrounds. After teaching an FSI course in summer 2014, in particular, I began to imagine ways that I could transform my classroom into a space in which students from all backgrounds could “see” themselves reflected back at them. I enjoyed crafting lesson plans, assignments, and group projects that helped them learn history and, more importantly, build the sense of confidence and community they needed to succeed both inside and outside the classroom.
My passion for mentoring and teaching students from diverse backgrounds led me to my role as the inaugural Associate Director of Programs for Access and Inclusion at Princeton University. Through that position, I helped reimagine, revamp, and administer FSI. I also had the extraordinary opportunity to design and launch the University’s first four-year scholars program for first-generation, low-income students – the Scholars Institute Fellows Program (SIFP), which was featured in Harvard Alumni magazine and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among other publications.
Finally, I have written and presented extensively on best practices for the design and development of diversity programs at institutions of higher education, offering colleagues data-driven solutions for addressing persistent gaps in student academic achievement, post-graduate outcomes, and quality of life issues at college. I also continue to write, present, and publish in my academic field of training, allowing me to explore the historical construction of present-day systems of power, privilege, and exclusion.
Interviewed by Emma Kerr, “Guides to Not-Being Rich,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 26, 2018.
Delivering comments for “Addressing Structural Racism in French History and French Historical Studies,” Conference Plenary Roundtable, Western Society of French History, 4 November 2017. (click here for video clip)
Interviewed by Charlotte Faucher, “Voices of Early Career Researchers: Nimisha Barton,” French History Network(blog), February 17, 2017, http://frenchhistorysociety.co.uk/blog/?p=1270.
Interviewed by Beckie Supiano, “Princeton Strives to Help First-Generation Students Feel More at Home,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 7, 2016.