College of Education and Human Development

Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Abigail Rombalski

  • Pronouns: she, her, hers

  • Lecturer

  • Office Hours

    Office hours upon request.

Abigail Rombalski

Areas of interest

Abby's research interests include working with youth towards racial justice across school, community, and digital spaces. Other areas of interest include community-engaged research, critical literacies, urban education, youth participatory action research (yPAR), and curriculum development.


PhD, Education, Curriculum & Instruction, University of Minnesota (2019)
MA, Multicultural education and service-learning, Goddard College (2002)
BA, English, American Racial and Multicultural Studies, and music, St. Olaf College (1998)


Abby Rombalski works to cultivate university-community partnerships and opportunities for public scholarship that work towards racial justice in education with youth at the center. Abby earned her PhD from the literacy program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota. She has taught for over ten years in higher education and for 15 years in international, urban, and alternative settings, mostly as an English-Language Arts teacher in secondary schools in which culturally relevant pedagogies informed both her teaching and learning. 

Abby is a co-founder of the YoUthROC research team, an affiliate project with the R.J.J. Urban Research Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) in north Minneapolis.

Selected Awards

  • 2022-present, Americorps grant with YoUthROC for Youth Participatory Action Research, in partnership with Carleton College 
  • 2020 YoUthROC grant for Youth Participatory Action Research, YouthPrise
  • 2018 Community Outreach and Engagement Award, University of Minnesota CEHD
  • 2018 Fellowship with the Journal Curriculum Inquiry, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
  • 2016-2018 Josie R. Johnson Engaged Dissertation Fellow, R.J.J. Urban Research and Outreach Engagement Center (UROC), Office for Public Engagement, UMN


  • American Education Research Association (2014-Present)
  • Education Liberation Network, MN Chapter (Founding member)
  • Literacy Research Association (2014-2021)
  • National Council of Teachers of English Research Assembly (2015-Present)

Rombalski, A. & Forrester, J. & Smaller, A. & Oto, R., (2023) “The Purple Room: A YPAR-Designed Healing Space Grounded in Community-Engaged School Leadership”, VUE (Voices in Urban Education) 51(1). doi:

Rombalski, A. (2020). I believe that we will win! Learning from Youth Activist Pedagogies. Curriculum Inquiry. 50(1). P. 28-53. University of Toronto. 

Rombalski, A. (2020). "Connected literacies of anti-racist youth organizers", English Teaching: Practice & Critique, 19(3). P. 347-363.


Marshall, S, & Rombalski, A. (November, 2023). Bridgers & Connectors: Networking for Antiracist Navigation in Education. Paper presentation, University Council of Education Administration (UCEA).

Grinage, J., Rombalski, A., & Oto, R. (April, 2023). Words without Actions: How neoliberal multiculturalism impedes white teacher antiracism. Division B roundtable presentation, American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Smaller, A., Rombalski, A., & YoUthROC Research team (2021). “Getting out of our own way,” a keynote address about adult roles and centering BIPOC youth. Brooklyn Center Community Schools.

Froebel, M. & Rombalski, A. (2021). Youth Activist Spotlight. Instagram Live video with YoUthROC (@youthroc.umn). Over 400 views.

DePratto, K., Porter, X., and Rombalski, A. (2021). Growing Good YPAR Webinar. 

Oto, R., Rombalski, A., & Grinage, J. (April, 2021). Tolerance or Transformation? The Role of Racial Literacy in U.S. K-12 Schooling: A Review of Literature. Division G roundtable presentation, American Educational Research Association (AERA) Virtual Conference.

YoUthROC Research Team & Rombalski, A. (February 2021). Youth in Social Movements: Past and Present. Ethnography in Education Conference.

Rombalski, A. and Martin-Kerr, K. (2020). “Culturally Responsive Literacy Teaching.” Minnesota Center for Reading Research, University of MN-Twin Cities. and

Rombalski, A. (December 2019). Engaging and Re-engaging Reciprocity with a local YPAR team. Public Scholars Group. Literacy Research Association. Tampa, FL.