Meet Erinn Dady

Learn about Erinn’s experience as a Community-Academic Scholar for Solving Poverty.


Erinn Dady, a junior in the School of Earth, Society, and Sustainability, worked with Professor Esther Ngumbi, Professor Kevin Tan and Tracy Dace from the DREAAM House this past summer, to assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on student needs.

The DREAAM House is a community impact organization with a focus on supporting the social and emotional needs of Champaign-Urbana youth  and their families in the Champaign-Urbana community. Dady worked to bring STEM and social-emotional learning curriculum into teaching lessons. “To show youth from underserved communities that the world is big and exciting,” says Dady, “has been very meaningful. I enjoyed the hands-on science lessons and seeing the excitement and cooperation that the students had with each other.”

Providing STEM education to children in the C-U community overall improved access to science education for these children. Science is needed more than ever, and more science wants to invite more voices to participate, including parents too. This project greatly contributed to social equity by offering parents a chance to have their educational concerns heard. “The University is a social and economic powerhouse in our community,” says Dady. She continues, “This project is blending scholarship and town-grown resources to help a part of our community that has shouldered the burden of local disinvestment and systemic racism.”

Professor of Social Work, Kevin Tan, championed Dady’s interest in STEM education. When mentioning Dady, Tan reflects back, impressed by the depth of her research for DREAAM.  “She helped out for the students’ Friday activities and entomology field trip (i.e., study of insects). It was really interesting to hear her experience talking with students about insects – she was describing it as “Pokémons to the students!” says Tan.



Learn more about the project by watching Erinn Dady’s research lightning talk.