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About this Video

What happens when kids from that bottom income level, like I was, get to those institutions of middle class transformation we call college? Is that the end of the story? For most, it’s just the beginning.

Key words: class; college; financial aid; posse; cornell

Michele Ferrari has spent a lot of her life passing as middle-class. She grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Brooklyn and went on to the Ivy League, eventually earning a PhD. Since moving to Cambridge, she has been doing advocacy work with educational programs like 826 Boston and Posse.


About the Speaker

Michele Ferrari

Michele Ferrari

Michele Ferrari has spent a lot of her life passing as middle-class. She grew up in a working-
class neighborhood in Brooklyn and went on to the Ivy League. During her PhD work at the
University of Virginia, Michele became active in graduate student labor issues and began to
focus her research on class dynamics in American culture. She wrote her dissertation about
representations of class in contemporary American fiction and film, looking closely at the
slippage between lines of class, race, and gender. Since moving to Cambridge, she has been
doing advocacy work with outreach educational programs like 826 Boston, Posse, and the
Young Adult Writers Program (YAWP) at Grub Street in Boston where she continues to explore
the intersection of education and the experience of class. She has shifted from literary scholar
to storyteller, recently winning a Moth StorySlam and currently working on a novel about a
working class teenager negotiating the Manhattan social world in the 1980s.