Dr. Melissa M. Valle is an assistant professor, jointly appointed in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Department of African American and African Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. She is also a core faculty member of the Global Urban Studies/Urban Systems Ph.D. program. Dr. Valle is cultivating a body of research that unpacks the notion of “racial worth” by revealing how symbolic meanings become embedded within distributive frameworks and subsequently contribute to inequality in the Americas. Dr. Valle’s current book project, Battling for Worth: Race, Recognition, and UrbanChange on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast (under contract with Oxford University Press) explores the criteria people use to determine what and who has worth, at different spatial scales, in the context of urban spatial and economic change in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. Prior to completing her PhD, she spent ten years working with youth in various capacities, most recently as a New York City Teaching Fellow on the Lower East Side. She also worked as a community development public policy director in Harlem. Dr. Valle is a recipient of a Fulbright student award to Colombia and has dual bachelor’s degrees in economics and Afro-American Studies from Howard University, a Master of Public Administration in public and nonprofit management and policy from New York University, a Master of Science for Teachers in childhood education from Pace University, and a Master of Arts, Master of Philosophy, and Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University.