A nationally recognized educator, journalist, political commentator, & public health advocate, Araya Baker’s experience advancing social change spans over a decade.
Araya’s [they/them/their(s)] advocacy and public scholarship have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, Psychology Today, Education Post, Vice, Buzzfeed, and The Tennessean, among other outlets. Essence Magazine, Native Son Now, and The Mighty have also recognized Baker’s activism.
Formerly, Baker’s professional work within the mental health field has included positions with The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK), The Trevor Project, The Los Angeles LGBT Center, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Autism Research, The School District of Philadelphia’s Office of Prevention & Intervention, The Racial Empowerment Collective, The EASEL (Ecological Approaches to Social Emotional Learning) Lab, and Mental Health America, where Baker co-authored The City of Houston’s inaugural public survey on mental health.
Presently, within academia, Baker’s interest in scholarship is grounded in qualitative research methodologies which are partnership-oriented, humanizing, critically conscious, and attentive to the traditionally extractive and paternalistic power dynamics between minoritized/underserved communities and academic/research institutions.
Beyond academia, Baker collaborates with social movements and grassroots organizers, K-12 schools and universities, non-profit organizations and socially responsible corporations, as well as faith communities, to explore a range of social issues via community-based education, community-centered research, and professional development.
As a consultant and speaker, Baker has collaborated with equity-centered & justice-championing institutions such as The American Public Health Association, The National Partnership for Educational Access, The African American Male Initiative, The New York Urban League Young Professionals, First Peoples Fund, NATAL, and Pride in the Pews.
Baker holds an M.Phil.Ed. in Professional Counseling from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, where they received the Award for Excellence in Promoting Diversity & Inclusion, and an Ed.M. in Human Development & Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where they served as an Equity & Inclusion Fellow.
Baker grew up between Tennessee and Texas.