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Thursday, May 20, 2021

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Dr. Suneal Kolluri

Suneal Kolluri

Dr. Suneal Kolluri is wrapping up his first year at San Diego State University as an assistant professor in the School of Teacher Education. But did you know he’s a beach volleyball superstar who also used to throw down dunks on the basketball court? We’re not worthy! Find out more in this edition of 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Faculty and Staff. 

1. Suneal is hella Bay. 

Suneal hails from the northern half of California and exudes Bay area pride. His son is named Cruz Maxwell Kolluri, after Santa Cruz (Suneal’s favorite beach town) and Maxwell Park (the neighborhood in Oakland where he lived and taught for 10 years). He loves the Warriors and the A’s. The Bay is hella dope. 

2. Suneal comes from a multicultural family. 

Suneal’s dad is an immigrant from India and Suneal’s mom is a White American from California. His father-in-law is Black, and his mother-in-law is Mexican American, both from California. These multicultural familial influences have shaped his identity and informed his work. 

3. Suneal is a beach volleyball champion. 

After moving to southern California, Suneal and his spouse joined a beginner’s beach volleyball league. After a few seasons, they became champions of the beginner league and defended their championship for three seasons in a row. Unfortunately, their championship streak was interrupted by the pandemic. 

4. Suneal worked with students to craft a ballot proposal for free college in California. 

As a teacher, Suneal teamed up with his senior government class and another government teacher with her senior government class to craft a ballot proposal that would help California students. The students created a proposal to fund free public college in California through taxes on wealthy Californians. Though the students failed to get the approximately 500,000 signatures necessary for the proposal to end up on the ballot, the effort garnered local and national media attention. 

5. Suneal is a part-time vegetarian. 

He became a vegetarian in college after reading a book that convinced him eating animals was bad. As part of a compromise with his spouse, a meat enthusiast, he and his family decided to be vegetarian during the week but to eat meat during the weekends. He will happily go out for tacos al pastor with you, but only on days beginning in ‘S.’ 

6. Suneal used to be able to dunk a basketball. 

A few years ago, he worked all summer to jump higher. He was finally able to slam dunk at the local park, and his two sons witnessed the momentous event. Since, however, his knees have aged, and he can’t dunk anymore. 

7. Suneal is a huge fan of Wayne’s World. 

Wayne’s World is the greatest cinematic masterpiece of all time. Not! But it’s still excellent, and he will eagerly quote scenes with any willing movie-quote collaborator. 

How Suneal is making a difference in the College of Education 

“I teach future teachers and model for them the practices I hope they adopt as educators. I emphasize culturally relevant and sustaining teaching practices and critical pedagogies. I encourage discussion and student inquiry. Working with future teachers has been rewarding and invigorating, and I cherish that component of my work. Also, I conduct research that I hope will inform improvements in schools serving marginalized youth. My research looks into social stratifications that unfold in educational contexts by race, ethnicity and class. In particular, I research college readiness practices and classroom pedagogies that advantage some students and disadvantage others. For example, in a forthcoming article conditionally accepted to Educational Researcher, I investigate with a colleague how the police are portrayed in state social studies content standards and discuss how dominant conceptions of law enforcement elevated in schools can create disequilibrium for students from racially minoritized communities. I hope that my teaching and research can make a meaningful impact for students in San Diego and beyond.”