A A Email Print Share

Jamillia Kamara

Program Associate at the Pittsburgh Foundation and a social entrepreneur

Statement of Research Interest /Problem of Practice:
Jamillia's research interests focus on expanding the definition of student intelligence through revised evaluative methods and the impact of institutionalized racism on teacher evaluations of student intellect.

Jamillia earned a Bachelor's degree in Urban Studies from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010 and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master's degree in Elementary Education from Chestnut Hill College in 2013. She also holds a TEFL certification from the International TEFL Academy.

With a commitment to creating enrichment and capacity building opportunities for diverse students and families, Jamillia began her professional career facilitating youth empowerment workshops and teaching at the Southwest Leadership Academy Charter School, a high-need K-8 school in Philadelphia. She went on to serve as a program director for Multicultural Community Family Services in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, and as program manager for Public Allies Pittsburgh. Jamillia serves as a community engagement consultant and is the founder of Internationally Smart is Cool, a nonprofit organization that connects middle school students with opportunities to develop and practice activities that interest them. The organization has collaborated with educational leaders, organizations, teachers, students and parents from across the state of Pennsylvania.

Jamillia joined The Pittsburgh Foundation in August 2017 after a period of consulting with leading regional organizations in the fields of education, social justice, innovation and technology. These include AlphaLab Gear, The Forbes Funds, Coro Pittsburgh and The Center for Engaged Teaching and Research at Duquesne University.

At the Foundation, Jamillia works to advance the grantmaking, convening, policy and research activities related to 100 Percent Pittsburgh, the Foundation's organizing principle, with a focus on education and equity. She is currently co-designing a Social Justice Fund that will provide rapid response support for impactful grassroots work in Advocacy, Mobilization and Healing.

Mentored by: Dr. Michael Yonas
Senior Program Officer, Research and Special Initiatives, The Pittsburgh Foundation

Michael Yonas, M.P.H., Dr.P.H., earned his bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from Dickinson College and his Master and Doctoral Degrees of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, with an emphasis on Child Development. He later completed postgraduate training in Community-Based Participatory Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Yonas is an award winning professor and mentor who holds more than two decades of experience working with communities. His research utilizes traditional and non-traditional approaches to understand social determents of health and addresses factors influencing community violence, chronic disease and persistent disparities impacting the well-being of children, youth and families. His academic appointments include faculty and professorship positions at John Hopkins University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and The University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Yonas strives to cultivate culturally sensitive opportunities that reflect the priorities of communities, organizations and other stakeholders. He is influenced by years of community-based practice, service and research, focusing primarily on the role of neighborhood and systems-level factors impacting disparities in health.  Dr. Yonas has specialized training and experience using the arts to engage youth and communities in research and in the application of principles of community- based participatory research.

Prior to joining The Pittsburgh Foundation, Dr. Yonas served as director of Research, Evaluation and Engagement at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. He has authored more than 40 publications, including, Dismantling Racism: Promoting Social Justice Through Individual Awareness, Institutional Policy Change and Institutional and Community Partnerships; and Visual Voices: A Participatory Method for Engaging Adolescents in Research and Knowledge Transfer. He has also authored chapters in numerous books, including, Informing and Developing Research in the Context of Community-Based Participatory Research and Undoing Racism. Most recently, he served as the lead author for A Qualitative Study of Youth and the Juvenile Justice System, published by the Pittsburgh Foundation in February, 2017.