Kari Smalkoski

Dr. Kari Smalkoski is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and a Community Engagement Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study. Her research and scholarship focuses on masculinity, gender and identity, education and political economy, LGBTQ youth as well as youth sports and social capital. She writes about Asian American youths' experiences in and out of schools; her research findings are included in a 2014-16 AAPI Bullying Prevention Task force Report, a White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Her current book project, American Dream Disrupted: Reframing Narratives on Asian American Youth, Gender, and Inequality in Schools, examines the impact of educational reform programs and community league soccer on Hmong youth in the Twin Cities. Dr. Smalkoski is co-founder and co-director of Minnesota Youth Story Squad. MYSS addresses educational opportunity gaps and amplifies the voices of youth through digital storytelling and offers internship opportunities to UofM undergrads in urban public school classrooms. For the last four years, MYSS has established community-engaged partnerships with secondary schools in the Minneapolis and St. Paul public school districts. Dr. Smalkoski is Principal Investigator on a longitudinal study that examines the short and long term impact of MYSS on thousands of youth who have participated in its programming. She is a former high school teacher who has worked with youth for almost two decades and is actively involved in youth sports as a board member on youth serving organizations.

Educational Background & Specialties


  • Gender and identity
  • Masculinity studies
  • Anti-Asian Racism
  • Hmong Youth
  • Youth sports and social capital
  • Education and political economy
  • Critical refugee studies
  • Ethnographic research methods
  • Community engaged partnerships
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Executive Advisory Board Member, Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC):


  • Partnership with South High School, a Minneapolis Public School, 2021-Present:
  • Partnership with Edison High School, a Minneapolis Public School: 2019 - Present
  • Partnership with Northeast Middle School, a Minneapolis Public School: 2017 - Present
  • Partnership with Parkway Montessori Middle School, a St. Paul Public School: 2015 - Present
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 2021-2023
  • U.S. Department of Education, 2020-2022
  • F.R. Bigelow Foundation, 2020 - 2022
  • Institute for Advanced Study, Research and Creative Collaborative Grant, 2016 - 2020
  • Minnesota Humanities Center Grant, 2018 - 2019
  • Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, The Graduate School, University of Minnesota, 2013 - 2014
  • Henry Luce Fellowship, 2010 - 2011