Robin Hart is a Ph.D. Student, Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow, and Provost Diversity Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Columbia University. Their research primarily explores different avenues of belonging in exclusive institutional spaces, or how institutions are able to (re)shape themselves to increase accessibility. These institutional characteristics take several forms, but at their root consist of actions, both direct and symbolic, institutions can undertake to increase belonging or reallocate resources more equitably. One case Robin studies considers the impact of increasing gender- and race-focused content on college syllabi on marginalized students’ retention rates; they find a robust positive relationship between inclusive content and increased women’s and racial minority’s retention across all higher education institutional forms. A second line of their research considers how different bank types, particularly Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), are more equipped to make loans to low-income and racial minority-majority communities than mainstream banks through a combination of their dense local community partnerships, individual-level technical assistance, and holistic evaluation of risk and creditworthiness.
Prior to Columbia, Robin received their BA in Sociology with a concentration in Statistics and minor in Music from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. At Reed, Robin taught over five sections of introductory statistics and two sections of sociology research methods; their research interests in higher education access and retention extend to a passion for teaching, particularly quantitative methods courses for the social sciences.