Kara Ponder

Kara Young Ponder, PhD

Director of Community Engagement & Racial Justice


Dr. Kara Young Ponder is the Director of Community Engagement and Racial Justice at BHHI. In this role, she leads community partnerships and analyses of race and racism primarily for the California Statewide Study of People Experience Homelessness (CASPEH). She played a key leadership role in the CASPEH survey research design, fieldwork operations, data analysis, and writing, and led the three community advisory boards attached to the study. She is the primary investigator for the CASPEH Black Californians' Experiences of Homelessness qualitative sub-study and leads the internal learning and professional development program for BHHI staff. 

Prior to joining BHHI, Kara worked as an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University where she conducted research on how race and neighborhood affect people’s daily lived experiences of food access in urban cities. An educator and social justice practitioner, Kara has taught in college, high school, prison, transitional living facilities, and drug recovery centers. She holds master's and doctoral degrees in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Brown University.