Sociology Alum Recognized for Research & Scholarship

Derron Wallace ’07 is an Assistant Professor of Education and Sociology at Brandeis University. He recently received an award for the Best Paper in International Studies from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) for his article on “Negotiating Girls’ Empowerment: Models of Assertive and Subversive Resistance in Rwanda’s Only Inclusive School.” His paper describes how poor girls with disabilities in Rwanda strategize against prejudice in Rwanda’s largest inclusive school. It importantly highlights how men are still dominant in the group of young people with disabilities.

AERA is an international organization with over 25,000 members drawn from academia, government, nonprofits, and other organizations. Wallace will present his work at their annual conference for the international studies group within AERA.

Wallace also received the Emerging Scholar Award from the African Diaspora Special Interest Group of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES). The Society is concerned with international and cross disciplinary approaches to education, their goal being to better society and increase cross cultural understanding through scholarship and academic achievement. CIES has affected education policy around the world with it’s nearly 2,500 members. The Emerging Scholar award is from a subgroup of CIES that is interested specifically in African Diaspora studies, one of Wallace’s areas of expertise. The award will be presented at the annual CIES conference.

Both the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) and the American Education Research Association (AERA) are organizations concerned with encouraging the study and improvement of education on a global scale. They represent thousands of scholars, law makers, teachers, and workers in education worldwide.


Professor Derron Wallace has also been named the Stuart Hall Fellow from the the 2018-2019 cohort of W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute Fellows at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research. The Stuart Hall Foundation is dedicated to continuing the work of Stuart Hall, a sociologist who helped expand his field to include conversations on race and gender in an effort to better society by helping the disadvantaged. The foundation is committed to providing opportunities for students and academics, pursuing themes resonant with the work of Professor Stuart Hall. Professor Wallace is the first junior faculty member to receive the Stuart Hall Fellowship, which will support his project, “Seeking A Safe Way to School: Black Caribbean Youth Negotiating Police Surveillance in London and New York City.”

Wallace also received the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship this year. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation gives opportunities to exceptional scholars from all walks of life. This organization was originally Princeton University’s fellowship program but named itself after Princeton’s most famous president when it expanded to be nationwide. All these fellowships and awards are added to a long list of honors that started during his time here at Wheaton.

In addition to being recognized for his scholarship, in 2017 Wallace was recognized for teaching excellence at Brandeis.

At Wheaton

In 2016, Wallace came back to Wheaton for the 34th Sociology and Anthropology Senior Symposium where he was the keynote speaker. His lecture was titled “In Pursuit of Justice: Public Sociology and the Imperatives of the 21st Century.” Professor Emerita Kersti Yllö initiated the symposium shortly after arriving here at Wheaton. She invited Wallace to speak for the last symposium before her retirement because he has exemplified the hard working scholar and educator since he arrived at Wheaton in 2002.

Wallace double majored in Sociology and in African, African American, Diaspora Studies, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. As a student he received a Project for Peace grant from the Kathryn Wasserman Davis 100 Projects for Peace initiative. He also received a Watson Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship and a Marshall Scholarship. He holds a Master’s in philosophy and a Ph.D. in Sociology of Education from the University of Cambridge where he was a Gates Cambridge scholar.