Background

My research focuses broadly on the economics of education and education policy. A guiding theme of my work is the use of quantitative methods to inform contemporary policy debates in education.

Before joining the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I was an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. During this fellowship, I led the creation of a longitudinal data system capable of following students from kindergarten to college. Such state data systems are rich resources for answering questions about the effects of different policies, programs, or other factors on performance, engagement, and educational attainment. Prior to my time in Michigan, I was an Assistant Professor at Cornell College, a selective liberal arts college, where I built an undergraduate program in public policy at the intersection of the economics and politics departments. I also worked as a high school teacher in Baltimore before pursuing graduate study.

My research has appeared in journals such as the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Economics of Education Review, and Education Finance and Policy.

In one strand of current research, I am examining the efficacy of different policies and programs intended to smooth students’ transitions between the worlds of high school, college, and work. In a second line of inquiry, I am exploring cross-field differences in costs and cost drivers at the postsecondary level. Past topics of study include the effects of early accountability pressure under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on student achievement, the impact of additional learning time on student performance, the usefulness of college double majors in the labor market, and the effect of more rigorous high school exit exams on dropout.

I earned my Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). I hold Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish.