December 7, 2022

Alum Sheds Light on Economic Inequality

Lavar Edmonds ’14 discovered an interest in economics at UMW, where he received a bachelor’s degree in the subject. Now a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University, his research and opinions on housing, economic and educational inequality have made headlines.

Lavar Edmonds ’14 discovered an interest in economics at UMW, where he received a bachelor’s degree in the subject. Now a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University, his research and opinions on housing, economic and educational inequality have made headlines.

The Mayor of Mary Washington. That’s what one professor called then-student Lavar Edmonds ’14 as he strolled down Campus Walk, stopping to chat with everyone along the way.

“I’ve always been a curious person,” said Edmonds, who discovered a passion for social science research at the University of Mary Washington. Majoring in economics was “a whole new way to ask and answer my own questions about the world, which is a huge part of what I do now.”

A Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University, Edmonds engages in conversations with his students like he did with his professors a decade ago, describing his time at UMW as “an unparalleled experience.” He’s still asking important questions, such as how economic and housing inequality can impact learning, recently as a research specialist at Princeton University’s Eviction Lab.

At the start of the pandemic, Edmonds penned a Washington Post opinion piece that asked: Want to help kids weather this school year? Keep them from getting evicted. His expertise drew national attention, landing him interviews on PBS Newshour and NPR. Read more.

Betty Emrey of Mindpower Inc. contributed to the reporting and writing of this story.