MPES 1 Cohort 1
Orlina, Enrique
Rick Orlina is a third-year student in the Learning Sciences program. He followed a somewhat roundabout path to arrive at SESP. After receiving his BA in Physics/Integrated Science Program from Northwestern in 1988, Rick joined Sony Electronics to work in the consumer electronics industry. He held positions in product design and manufacturing in both Japan and the United States. Driven by a desire to better understand the overall operations of the business, Rick returned to school and received his MBA from Stanford's Graduate School of Business in 1997. He returned briefly to Sony and then joined Sun Microsystems as a manager in the operating systems marketing organization. Rick came back to Northwestern in 2003 with the goal of applying his technology and business experience in the field of education. His current research interests include exploring how individuals interact with each other and with their social contexts in school settings to enact school leadership, as well as investigating how schools operate as organizations. Rick has been working with Penelope Peterson and James Spillane to develop ways to apply the distributed leadership perspective in schools.
Palacios, Natalia

Natalia A. Palacios is a sixth year Ph.D. student in Human Development and Social Policy in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. She is a fellow in the Multidisciplinary Program for Education Sciences, funded by the Institute for Education Sciences and was awarded the American Psychological Association Minority Predoctoral Fellowship. She is a Graduate Research Assistant at the Institute for Policy Research. Natalia works with her advisor, Dr. P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, on the Welfare, Children and Families: A Three-City Study.

With a long-standing commitment to developmental, early education, and policy research, her overarching goal as a scholar is to advance the understanding of effective programs that improve children’s chances for academic success. With strong multidisciplinary training, her research focuses on issues specific to minority and immigrant children, the complex factors affecting the transition to school, teacher quality, and children’s cognitive development. Natalia lines's of research inform each other to attain a more nuanced understanding of achievement in understudied but fast growing groups. By focusing on these research questions and using multiple rigorous methodologies, she aims to contribute to the fund of knowledge necessary to address the significant challenges to educational policy and practice in the United States

Passty, Benjamin
Benjamin Passty is a sixth-year PhD student in the economics department at Northwestern University. He grew up in Texas, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and a bachelor of arts degree in economics at Trinity University. During his time at Trinity, he authored a junior high honors math course, as well as served in the Economists in the Schools program.

Since he came to Northwestern University in 2002, Benjamin's research interests have included applied microeconomics, labor economics, and economic history. Within the MPES program, his work centers on higher education, and his job market paper--entitled "The Good Ones Go Fast: Education, Marriage, and Merit Aid"--involves using state scholarship programs to increase the education of women to see how marriage outcomes are affected. In his spare time, he enjoys swing dancing and playing church music.

Ben's job market website can be accessed via href= .
Skogsberg, Katie
KatieAnn Skogsberg is in her 5th at Northwestern in the Brain, Behavior and Cognition program (Psychology). Her current area of research focuses on the many facets of attention and how multiple modes of attention function in relationship to each other. These relationships are being investigated using a series of visual attention tasks that make up the “Suzuki/Grabowecky Visual Attention Battery.” 

KatieAnn’s particular interest is the differences in attention abilities that exist between groups. For example, her research has already revealed that men and women excel at different types of tasks, and that participants with attention deficits perform poorly on only a select subset of the tasks. Additionally, she has extended some of these findings to studies using electroencephalographic recordings to explore the neurological correlates of attention and attention deficits. 

Although she has completed her tenure as an MPES fellowship recipient, she is still active in the program. She is also a member of the Graduate Teaching Certificate Program at NU and was appointed to teach two classes this year through the School of Continuing Studies.
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White, Kathryn
Kathryn Weitz White received her PhD from Northwestern's Human Development and Social Policy program.  While an MPES fellow, her research was concerned with community service engagement and educational outcomes, and low-income students' engagement in civic life.