Rowhea Elmesky is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education at Washington University in St. Louis.

For nearly two decades, she has been involved in research activities that are focused upon understanding how education, and specifically, science education can be a transformational force in the lives of culturally marginalized and economically disadvantaged children. In some of her work, she focuses on developing integrated meso and micro level understandings regarding the ways in which capital, resources and schemas from social fields outside of the classroom shape the events that unfold as curriculum is enacted within the classroom. Although her content area training and curriculum focus is science (specifically physics), Rowhea's research and teaching is centered on urban contexts. She is committed to research that catalyzes change and transforms urban schools and communities.

Her roles as a faculty affiliate of the Interdisciplinary Program in Urban Studies & Center on Urban Research and Public Policy, as a faculty scholar for the Institute for Public Health and as a faculty fellow with the Institute for School Partnership speaks to her recognition across campus as a scholar who engages urban science education in an interdisciplinary, community-focused manner.

Rowhea works directly with school districts to engage in research that is responsive to stakeholder concerns and catalytic in affecting real change. Prior to arriving at Washington University, she completed a three year postdoctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania where she and an expansive research team worked together with various schools (neighborhood, charter, magnet) within the Philadelphia area. Out of this project, she developed a research database of video, audio and written artifacts from inner city high school chemistry and physics classrooms and has followed some of the student and teacher researchers in a longitudinal manner. Rowhea’s work in the northeast resulted in a co-edited book, Improving urban science education: New roles for teachers, students and researchers, which won the Choice Award for Outstanding Academic titles in 2006. She also has a book contract with Springer to share a narrative of the longitudinal documentation of those involved in the study, entitled, High school in the inner city and the years beyond.

As her work has expanded to include international perspectives, she is the lead editor on a recently published  (2017) volume entitled, The Power of Resistance: Culture, Ideology and Social Reproduction in Global Contexts, which was dedicated to sharing research being done within communities suffering from inequality, uneven opportunity, and oppression in global contexts.

Rowhea is additionally currently working on the conceptualization of two monograph projects emerging out of another longitudinal ethnographic research study, “Cogenerating a Community of Trust, Respect and Shared Responsibility," where over the past five years, she has been working collaboratively with a local school district to utilize research as a catalyst to lead a school-driven, cultural change initiative at the secondary level. She has a forthcoming contract with Palgrave Macmillan for a piece, entitled: Transforming toxic schooling: Race, class, community context and the implications for education. Furthermore, Rowhea is also pursuing a contract with Harvard Education Review Press in the Race and Education series to share the story of transformation of a high school in the district from an institution that was aligned with more punitive policies to one focused on relationships and a schoolwide restorative culture. The monograph being proposed is tentatively entitled, From punitive to restorative schools: Cogenerating a culture of trust, respect and shared responsibility.

Rowhea percieves publications as critical vehicles to bringing the voices of those traditionally silenced into the field. She is a scholar who understands education as a primary mechanism for creating more just communities and a qualitative researcher who values critical and collaborative research models that interlink theory and practice in ways that can transform teaching and learning contexts, schools and neighborhoods.