Kari Smalkoski

Dr. Kari Smalkoski's teaching 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. She is Principal Investigator on a longitudinal research 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 and has been interviewed most recently by Minnesota Public Radio and The Atlantic. You can read more about her work with MYSS in Inside Higher Ed. Please contact Srija Chatterjea-Sen if you would like to intern with MN Youth Story Squad this year: chatt058@umn.edu

Educational Background & Specialties


  • Gender and identity
  • Masculinity studies
  • LGBTQ youth
  • Youth sports and social capital
  • Education and political economy
  • Asian American studies
  • 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 Northeast Middle School, a Minneapolis Public School: 2017 - Present
  • Partnership with Parkway Montessori Middle School, a St. Paul Public School: 2015 - Present
  • Richard and Beverly Fink Innovation Faculty (with Jigna Desai), 2019 - 2021
  • 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