Research Highlights

My work focuses on improving the equity of educational and career opportunities through evidence-based approaches. Methodologically, I use econometric methods to obtain causal estimates of what works in education. One current project focuses on the role that information disparities play in the transition from secondary to postsecondary education and the workforce. This project includes leveraging natural experments to obtain plausibly causal estimates of the following:

  • effects of enrollment in a STEM-intensive college or university on STEM course exposure and majors
  • effects of work-based learning opportunities on high school students’ labor market understanding, postsecondary attainment, and early-career employment, earnings, and job satisfaction
  • effects of access to robust vocational education pathways on young adults’ economic mobility in Spain versus the U.S.

Some of my other research projects have:

  • leveraged natural experiments in Portland, Oregon and the State of Utah to estimate the causal effects of dual-language immersion education on student achievement
  • evaluated implementation and student performance outcomes of one city’s cross-sector school leadership pipeline program
  • meta-analyzed research evidence on effects of educational opportunities for incarcerated adults and juveniles
  • described implementation and plausible achievement effects of heterogeneous approaches to competency-based education
  • examined implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill for military veterans returning to postsecondary education
  • examined the distribution and turnover of teachers deemed highly effective based on students’ academic achievement growth
  • examined the responsiveness of academically skilled novice teachers to financial incentives for working in lower-performing schools

Teaching and Public Outreach

As an instructor of research methods and statistics in the Education Policy and Leadership M.Ed. Program at American University in Washington, DC, I am also interested in improving public understanding of the scientific method and the logic of research methods that support causal inference.

Professional History

My research and teaching are informed my background as a K-12 and community college educator. I started my career as an elementary school teacher at a small Northern Virginia private school and as a literature and writing instructor at Prince George’s County Community College in Maryland. I subsequently managed teacher recruitment and training in the test preparation industry, an experience that sparked my interest in students’ opportunity disparities and in teacher supply and demand disparities even within local labor markets. Guided by that interest, I became licensed as a public school teacher and taught English in grades 9-12 in California before pursuing a doctorate in education policy. I then worked as a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation in Arlington, VA, for six years before joining the full-time faculty of American University in 2014. I am currently an Associate Professor in the School of Education at American University, as well as an Affilitate Faculty Member in the Department of Public Administration and Policy in the School of Public Affairs.

Education History

  • Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Administration, Planning and Social Policy, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
  • Master of Arts in Education, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
  • Master of Arts in English, Georgetown University (Concentration in the Teaching of Writing), Washington, DC
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Honors English, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  • Junior Year Abroad with studies in Psychology and English, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

Site Design

This site is based on the academicpages template and hosted free on GitHub pages.