Background

My fields of interest include the economics of education, education policy, labor economics, and program evaluation. A guiding theme of my research 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, and Economics of Education Review.

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 the impacts of K-12 accountability structures, consequences, and supports on a variety of student and teacher outcomes. In the past, I have studied the effect of failure to make “adequate yearly progress” (AYP) under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on student achievement, the impact of additional learning time on student performance, and the usefulness of college double majors in the labor market.

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.