AboutOur PeopleDamia Ballantine
Headshot of woman outdoors with head slightly facing to the left looking at camera and smiling wearing a white blazer
Fellow, Class of 2027

Damia Ballantine

Education, Sociology, Mathematics, and Africana studies

Damia Ballantine, a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, is committed to educational equity and community empowerment. After attending a charter school in a low-income neighborhood for middle school and high school, she became passionate in becoming a math teacher for urban schools, ensuring she plays a part in expanding equitable access to a quality education. Inspired by her own experiences, Damia envisions a future where every individual, regardless of background, at least has the opportunity and the choice to shape their futures the way they see fit.  

At Penn, Damia is pursuing an academic path involving Education, Sociology, Mathematics, and Africana studies. This interdisciplinary approach reflects her dedication to understanding the complexities of learning and human development, laying the groundwork for her future profession as an educator and advocate.  

Beyond the classroom, Damia is an active advocate for educational equity within her community. She is the founder of Promoting Excellence and Achievement at Penn, a club dedicated to guiding and mentoring high school students of color, equipping them with the tools needed for success in their academic and personal journeys. Through this initiative, Damia aims to dismantle barriers and foster inclusive environments where every student can thrive. Her involvement extends further into the West Philadelphia community, including her participation in MathMates as a Teaching Assistant, Math Tutoring through Penn GSE Courses, and the Lea Math Tutoring Initiative. In these programs, she actively works towards enhancing educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth. She is also a board member of Aspiring Educators at Penn, a club aimed at connecting undergraduate students interested in the field of education and providing a space for students to explore careers in the field with a particular focus on the teaching profession. Damia is relentless in her pursuit of creating a brighter future for all through the transformative power of education. 

Through the SNF Paideia Fellowship, Damia looks forward to discussing the disparities that exist in the educational system with students who also share this same interest. Additionally, she hopes to expand her knowledge on the different perspectives that students have surrounding education, and later implement them into her own pedagogical practices in the future.