Our Students

Our Students

Naomi Blaushild

Degrees

  • MS Education, Johns Hopkins University, 2012
  • BA Political Science, Kenyon College, 2010

Research Interests

  • Teacher recruitment, development and retention in urban schools
  • The impact of teacher social networks on retention and student achievement 

Eric  Brown

Degrees

  • MA, Social Services Administration, The University of Chicago, 2008
  • BA, Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, CUNY, The City College of New York, 2006
Claudia Castillo

Degrees

  • MPA, International Economic Policy and Management, Columbia University, 2011
  • BA, Journalism and Spanish Literature, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, 2006

Research Interests

High school to college transition, role of institutions, neighborhoods, and family in ethnic identity development, race and inequality, social justice, community activism and social movements

Sarah Collier

Degrees

  • MA, Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology, Boston College, 2013
  • BS, Psychology, Boston College, 2012

Research Interests

 stress biology; cortisol; poverty policy; welfare reform

Elizabeth Debraggio

Degrees

  • MA, Public Administration/Affairs, New York University, 2013
  • BA, Economics, Hamilton College, NY, 2007

Research Interests

I am interested in how factors outside the classroom - including interventions, as well as the roles of health, housing, and neighborhoods - shape student development, learning, and well-being. Related, I am interested in how differences in resources inside and outside of schools may ameliorate or exacerbate disparities across students, and how policy can be structured to effectively address these differences.

Cynthia (CC)  DuBois

Degrees

  • MPP, The Irving B. Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago, 2010
  • BA, Louisiana State University, 2007

Research Interests

Labor Economics, Economics of Inequality and Discrimination, Economics of Education, Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Design, Program/Policy Evaluation

Olivia Healy

Degrees

  • B.S. Policy Analysis & Management, Cornell University, 2012
Jennifer  Heissel

Degrees

  • MPP, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, 2012
  • BA (Economics and Sociology), University of Notre Dame, 2007

Research Interests

Education policy; stress; sleep; academic performance

Emily Hittner

Degrees

  • BA Biological Science, Biochemistry, Northwestern University, 2013

Research Interests

I am interested in exploring how social determinants influence educational attainment. More specifically, I plan to focus on how we can use biological indicators to understand how child learn and how this might extend throughout the lifespan.

Ayah Kamel

Degrees

  • MS, Adolescent Special Education, Hunter College, 2013
  • BA, Political Science and Global Studies, Concordia College, 2011

Research Interests

 I am interested in the long-term impacts of education policy reform efforts on students' educational achievement and attitudes toward education. I am also interested in the ways in which students and families understand their role in the education policy-making process.

Courtenay Kessler

Degrees

  • MA, Public Health , Harvard University, 2008
  • BA, Women's Studies, Harvard University, 2003

Research Interests

Research interests include early childhood development, social determinants of health,
resilience, multi-generational interventions for health and education, and program evaluation methods
(especially collaborative/community-based methodologies and mixed methods approaches).

Andrea Kinghorn Busby

Degrees

  • BS, Family Life, Brigham Young University

Research Interests

I am interested in the intersection of home and school environments and its impact on children’s development, especially among families from low-income, immigrant, or ethnic-minority backgrounds.

Ijun Lai

Degrees

  • MPP, University of Michigan, 2008
  • BA, University of Michigan, 2003

Research Interests

 Urban education, urban youth development, neighborhood violence, race & inequality, program/policy evaluation

Jiffy Lansing

Degrees

  • AM, University of Chicago, 2007
  • BA, Tufts University, 2002

Research Interests

I am interested in exploring the institutional mechanisms and practices that foster adult identity development and influence education and work trajectories during the transition to adulthood, with a focus on juvenile justice and community college systems.

Mollie McQuillan

Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Teaching, University of Saint Thomas, 2005
  • AB, University of Chicago, 2000
  • MA, Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University, 2014
Lynn Meissner

Degrees

  • BA, Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2011

Research Interests

Sociology of Education, educational attainment and employment outcomes, high-school-to-work transition, high school career guidance, Career and Technical Education (CTE), community colleges

Connections between research, policy, and practice. Mixed-methods research. Intervention and implementation science.

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Degrees

Richard Paquin Morel

Degrees

  • MS in Childhood Education, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, 2008
  • MA in Philosophy, New School for Social Research, 2007
  • BA in Philosophy, Webster University, 2004

Research Interests

Broadly, I am interested in how social relationships and institutional conditions shape the understanding and implementation of education policy. More specifically, this means that I aim to explore how social networks influence access to and use of information and expertise, and how organizational conditions shape social networks. 

Andrea Prado Tuma

Degrees

  • BA, Psychology, Vassar College, 2008
  • MA, Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University, 2014

Research Interests

School leadership; education policy; school-community engagement.

Emily Ross

Degrees

  • BSc, Psychology, McGill University, 2009
  • MA, Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University, 2015

Research Interests

My interests focus on using a mixed methods approach to explore the relationships between economic disadvantage, parents' own human capital and well-being, parenting practices, and young children's development, as well as the mechanisms underlying relationships (for example, children's physiological stress system). I am also interested in the design, implementation and evaluation of programs and policies that foster healthy child development through strengthening the early environments in which children live.

Jacquelyn Stephens

Degrees

  • BA in Psychology, DePauw University, 2014
Ryan Svoboda

Degrees

  • BA, Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013
  • MA, Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University, 2016

Research Interests

motivation and identity; school achievement and interest; social psychological interventions in education

Carolyn Swen

Degrees

  • MA, International Relations, University of Chicago, 2009
  • MA, Public Policy, University of Chicago, 2009
  • BA, Politics, Princeton University

Research Interests

I am interested in how culture and context influence peoples’ narrative identity. I am also interested in how certain constructs present in narrative identities may predict other aspects of peoples’ lives. I am currently researching principals’ professional identity and how it changes during their first years as new principals.

Sara Thomas

Degrees

  • MEd, Human Development & Psychology, Harvard University, 2014
  • BA, Sociology, Grinnell College, 2008

Research Interests

I am interested in the ways that people come to self-identify as either having agency or being at the whim of external influences and the subsequent impact this identity has on interpersonal relationships. I am also interested in the ways that these personal identities and labels inform conversations about the criminal justice system, punishment, and prison reform.

Mary Clair Turner

Degrees

  • BA, Mathematics, Washington and Lee University, 2008

Research Interests

Program and policy evaluation;  student transition to high school and college; the role of sports and extracurricular participation on academic, socioemtional, health, and later life outcomes.

Cora Wigger

Degrees

  • MPP, Quantitative Methods in Education Policy, Vanderbilt University, 2016
  • BA, International Relations/Economics, The College of Wooster, 2011

Research Interests

 Economics of Education and Housing, Desegregation Policy, Social and Emotional Learning Outcomes, Causal Methods

Claudia Zapata-Gietl

Zapata-Gietl, Claudia

MPES 2 Cohort 4


Degrees

  • BA, Psychology and Comparative Literature, California State University, Long Beach
  • MA, Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University, 2014

Research Interests

I am interested in examining the academic and mental health trajectories of Latino students through high school and into post-secondary education through sociological and psychological perspectives. Specifically, I look at how structures at the classroom and school level shape the high school transition into post-secondary education for low-income students. At the individual student level, Latino students are in the process of developing an identity that is both affected by their school experiences and affects their academic and mental health outcomes. I look at narrative identity as the mechanism through which Latino students construct their ethnic identities.