Leya Mathew has a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, USA. Her dissertation titled "Aspiring India: The Politics of Mothering, Education Reforms, and English" was defended with distinction. Her project was awarded an American Institute of Indian Studies Fellowship in 2014 and a US National Academy of Education Fellowship in 2015.
Mathew's work examines the transitions of liberalization in India, with particular reference to non-elite educational aspirations. Alongside, she also analyzes state responses to non-elite aspirations, which often takes the form of education policy and reform.