Hoos in Education #3: Priya Malhotra

Dreama Johnson

Priya Malhotra

PRODUCT MANAGER, HIGHER EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY | EAB

B.A. IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES, 2015

Our Education & Youth Development CPE Kirstena talked with UVA alum Priya Malhotra about her path to working in education and her advice for students considering EYD careers.

During her time at UVA, Priya knew that she wanted to pursue some kind of social impact career, and she took advantage of opportunities within the College to explore her interests. Courses focusing on sociology, global development and policy all helped to ignite Priya’s passion for equity issues that now inspires her work with higher education technology. Additionally, Priya completed an internship with DC Public Schools in the summer between her third and fourth years that gave her an inside look at educational leadership and the inner workings of a school system. This sparked Priya’s interest in working in education as a way of having a social impact career.

After graduating from UVA in 2015, Priya joined the College Advising Corps in Atlanta. As a college advisor, Priya helped students in underserved schools access higher education by assisting with applications, financial aid and other aspects of the college search process. While this experience was valuable and rewarding, Priya realized that she wanted to make an impact in education by working at the macro level to address gaps in the larger education system. Towards the end of her tenure as a college adviser, Priya learned about her current company, EAB, while attending a college advising meeting with Georgia State University at College Advising Corps. Although she discovered the company by chance, she was immediately interested in their mission and started researching EAB by connecting with UVA alumni who worked there through LinkedIn. Priya was hired as a consultant at EAB in 2016.

EAB is an education technology firm that helps universities and school districts meet their needs with data-driven solutions. Priya was drawn to EAB because she is passionate about helping schools graduate more students and EAB’s service model allows her to implement improvements to student support systems on a large scale. After starting as a consultant, Priya transitioned this year to her current role as a product manager. In this role, Priya works closely with individual colleges and universities to understand their needs, and then collaborates with designers and engineers to build innovative technological solutions that address these schools' problems. Priya explained that education technology can also be utilized to promote equity in education. For example, simply making student-facing data accessible on mobile devices helps bridge the information gap for marginalized students that rely on their smartphones for stable internet and/or school information. Priya also works with colleges and universities to identify and collect data points that can indicate a student's likelihood to graduate on time. Recognizing patterns in student course enrollment, academic performance and even whether students attend their advising appointments can help schools increase quality, intentional support for support for students that may be veering off track.

Priya’s main piece of advice for UVA students wondering if a career in education could be right for them is that “there isn't one single path to making an impact in the world of education. Education touches almost every aspect of life, so your options are endless.  There are so many pressing needs in the field so whether you decide to work with students in a classroom, researchers at a think tank, or policymakers in DC, you'll know that your work matters." Priya emphasized that education is a vast industry that overlaps with lots of different fields, so almost any interest or skill set can be an asset to the industry. There may be someone working on something similar that you just don’t know about yet, or you could have the opportunity to launch a new innovation! At EAB, Priya works with people from many different professional backgrounds that have come to work for the same company because they are all passionate about education access and equity. In Priya’s journey, she worked in school systems and classrooms before finding another way to draw upon her passion for education to make a great impact on student success through her career in education technology.

If you’re interested in learning more about Priya’s story and the work she does, you can connect with her through Virginia Alumni Mentoring!