Angelique Gaines: Research for social change

Angelique GainesAngelique Gaines is a Social Research Specialist at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, where she has worked since 2016. In her role, she conducts various research and evaluation projects in the Charlotte region on topics ranging from housing to youth development to the racial wealth gap. In addition to her research, Angelique directs the Urban Institute’s City Walks program, which invites residents to experience new neighborhoods through free, citizen-led walks. Residents get to explore a variety of themes, from Charlotte’s changing development and growing immigrant communities to art, culture, architecture, food and economic mobility. 

Angelique has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in Public Policy and Administration from Northeastern University. She also holds a Master's degree in Urban and Regional Policy from Northeastern University, where her focus was on social policy and community development. Her work is informed by seven years of experience in research, evaluation and community engagement. 

What are your main research interests?  

My research interests include housing, education, youth development and community development. 

What drew you to your field?  

I became interested in research and evaluation because I believe they are effective tools in creating social change. I believe the ability to assess the unique needs of a population is integral to creating effective policy and advancing social justice.  

What do you find rewarding about your work?   

What I find rewarding is the ability to serve the community. Bringing about a more equitable and socially just society is what motivates me to do the work that I do.      

What do you hope to accomplish, or change, through your work?   

I want to make a difference in my community and in the lives of others. By informing and influencing policies and practices through research and evaluation, I believe I can accomplish that.