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Education Policy Doctoral Program

Current Student Roster

Jeongyeon Ahn is studying in a doctoral program in Education Policy at Michigan State University. She earned her bachelor's degree in Education at Hanyang University in South Korea. While studying in Korea, she noticed several domestic problems in education policy. Considering how to alleviate the negative effect of the problems, she decided to study in the US to learn how they teach the students and teachers. Therefore, she received a master's degree in Education Leadership and Policy at University of Michigan. 'How to make and implement the policy' is her first interest. Also, she is interested in the gap between the intent of policy and actual implementation.

Amy Auletto is currently a first year doctoral student in the Education Policy program and a recipient of the Erickson Research Fellowship. Her path towards the program began with her work as a social worker. After receiving her MSW from the University of Michigan, Amy became interested in issues of education as a social justice issue and went on to complete her Master of Arts in Educational Studies, also at U of M. She spent several years teaching elementary and middle school in Detroit. While her work as a teacher allowed her to gain a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding education, she wanted to find a way to make changes beyond the classroom. Amy is interested in research in the area of economics and best practices for addressing educational outcomes of at-risk student populations.

As a lifelong Michigan resident, I take pride in the quality of education I received and am passionate about providing similar impactful experiences with students in today's urban schools. I am a 3rd Year Education Policy PhD student at MSU and a Fellow of the Education Policy Fellowship Program. In addition I am also a Graduate Assistant with the College of Education's Office of K-12 Outreach – where my work is centered on school turnaround efforts and instructional leadership. Prior to returning to MSU for my PhD, I worked as an education consultant for the KRA Corporation and the Lansing School District. My previous professional experiences also include work with the President's Council of State Universities, Michigan; the State of Michigan, Office of the Governor; GEAR-UP, MSU; and the Michigan Association of Counties. I hold a bachelor's degree in Sociology/Anthropology from Olivet College and a master's degree in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education Administration from Michigan State University.

Pablo is a Ph.D. student in Education Policy and a Fulbright Fellow. Prior to graduate studies at MSU, he served as a project coordinator for the Education Program at CIPPEC, one of the most influential think tanks in Latin America. During his six years at CIPPEC he specialized in educational inequalities and education finance as a means to reduce disparity, publishing numerous technical reports and press articles on these topics. Other professional experience includes serving as a public finance analyst at the Argentine Ministry of Economics, research assistant at the University of Buenos Aires' Institute of Economic Research, and as an analyst at the International Processing Department of GALLUP.

After obtaining a six-year degree in economics at the University of Buenos Aires, Pablo completed postgraduate studies in education planning at the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP). His university teaching experience includes five years as a teaching assistant at the University of Buenos Aires and as an instructor in education finance and equity at both IIEP-UNESCO and the Latin American Social Sciences Institute (FLACSO).

His career objective is to conduct practical policy research within Latin America with potential for on-the-ground impact. His research interests include education justice issues from a comparative perspective, planning for effective policy implementation, and enhancing local capacities.

Before entering the Education Policy Ph.D. program, Jason earned a B.A. in history from Kent State University and an M.A.T. in Secondary Social Studies from the Johns Hopkins University. After completing his master's degree, Jason taught a variety of social studies courses in suburban Maryland for four years. During that time, he also wrote and revised curricula for the school system, developed district-wide assessments, was a member of the textbook selection committee, piloted an in-class/online hybrid course developed through the Maryland State Department of Education, presented at school and district-wide professional development meetings, and served as an advisor to various student organizations. Jason's current research interests include the implementation and effectiveness of technology in instruction, obligations and pressures that influence change in how teachers perform their jobs, and how behavioral economics may be applied to better our understanding of how students, teachers, and administrators make decisions within education. To further his studies, Jason is supported by MSU through the Erickson Research Fellowship Program as well as through conference and travel support.

David is a fifth-year student in Michigan State University's Education Policy Ph.D. Program. Before arriving at MSU, David attended the University of Virginia, where he received his B.A. in History and spent his senior year completing a significant thesis on cheating scandals and the rise of federal test-based accountability policy between 1989 and 2002. Additionally, while at UVA, David designed and taught an undergraduate seminar on the political history of the American education system and also received some practical experience with policymaking through work with the City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia. His current research examines the politics and history of American education.  More specifically, he studies public participation with education politics, examining how education policies shape and are shaped by democratic practice.  His research has examined such things as the role of ideas in the policy implementation process, parent reactions to test-score data, the influence of national interest groups in local school elections, and the democratic effects of school choice.  His dissertation examines the opt out movement in New York.

Andrea Chambers currently has research interests in the areas of college access and retention, specifically for disadvantaged youth, and policies related to college choice and decision-making behavior, financial aid, and student success. In the Education Policy Program she is supported by an Erickson Research Fellowship. Before attending MSU, Andrea completed her Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Sonoma State University and taught high school math before spending ten years working with high school students in a federally-funded Upward Bound Program in California. During that time she earned her Master's degree in Education from Sonoma State University.

I joined the Education Policy program as an Erickson Research Fellow. Prior to coming to MSU, I was a visiting faculty of International Relations at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University in India. I was also simultaneously working on important development projects with government and non-government organizations in different areas, such as environment education, housing, and women empowerment. I completed my master's program in International Development from University of Birmingham in United Kingdom, as the recipient of a Commonwealth Scholarship. My experience of working in the development sector in India has made me realise the huge research gaps that exist in the field of girls' secondary and higher education, some of which I would like to explore through my doctoral dissertation. The Education Policy program at MSU provides me the ideal platform to pursue my research interests, due to its focus on understanding international and comparative issues, a strong match of research interests with my supervisor, and an excellent community of bright scholars working in similar areas. The department is extremely welcoming, and strongly believes in investing in students' overall development by not just providing academic support but also providing substantial financial and other types of support. I am very grateful for this great opportunity to develop myself as a researcher, and for the generous support that the department has given me to achieve this without worrying about financial constraints.

Walter Cook is an Economics of Education fellow (IES grant) and is currently in his first year of doctoral studies in the Education Policy program at Michigan State University after transferring from the Economics doctoral program this past summer. His research interests involve the political economy of education, specifically looking at how economics and politics intersect in order to create Education Policy that balances the competing interests of maximizing social efficiency and equity of access. For example, as a MA student at Sacramento State University, his research examined the role that changing demographics of undergraduates impacted state appropriations for public universities. He completed his BA in Political Science from UC Davis in 2005.

As an undergraduate at Michigan State University I earned a degree in Social Relations and Policy as well as a Minor in Economics. In that time, I was able to develop my interest in education policy from an interdisciplinary standpoint. Now, my research interest center on the politics and governance of contemporary American education with a desire to use mixed methods to find pragmatic, context appropriate, solutions to state level policy issues. Being accepted into the Educational Policy program as a Dean's Scholar and Rasmussen Fellow has enabled me to pursue my interest educational research at the next level. In addition to the generous funding through my fellowships, I am working on an IES funded project studying principal evaluation. The academic rigor, departmental support, and mentorship of faculty has made the program an ideal setting for me as a person and a scholar.

Steve enters the Education Policy program shaped by an interest in the problem of teaching. He has a previous background in business working primarily on analytical marketing problems. He studied public policy (A.B.) and business (MBA) at Chicago and architecture (M.Arch.) and math education (M.Ed.) at Iowa State. Informed by teaching experiences as a math teacher in public and parochial schools, he is interested in the iterative relationship between policy instruments and measures and the practice of teaching.

After graduating from Lehigh University in 2011 with a B.S. in Psychology, I began tutoring both as a sub-contractor for a school district in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania and as a private tutor in the same general area. My students were from a wide range of backgrounds, including students from highly advantaged backgrounds and students from severely disadvantaged backgrounds. Education policy caught my eye during this time due to the major discrepancies I saw in the education opportunities in my students' lives. I am particularly interested in studying what policies in education can positively influence the opportunities of disadvantaged students, specifically those with lower socioeconomic status.

During the pursuit of his Masters degree in Public Policy (also at MSU) and his work for Public Policy Associates, Daniel Fitzpatrick discovered a passion for the question of how to improve educational outcomes, especially as a tool for combating intergenerational poverty. He entered the Education Policy program in fall 2012, and worked for Excellent Schools Detroit 2013-2015.

Daniel is supported through a Dean's Scholar Fellowship. He is completing the Specialization in the Economics of Education, and has conducted research on the supply side of the New York City charter market, a meta-analysis of research on year-round education, and an analysis of HSLS data to examine how specific college advising activities link to specific demonstrations of college readiness. His research interests include the effectiveness of education policies, the interactions within combinations of school reforms, linking early childhood and K12 improvements, and meta-analysis. Daniel is now working on an an experimental analysis of a mindset treatment with Dr. Barbara Schneider and Dr. John Yun, and on a large-sample analysis of how school policies and practices in Michigan schools relate to student achievement.

Amanda graduated with a B.S. in Secondary Education, with a double major in English and History, from Central Michigan University. As an undergraduate, she received the College of Humanities Research Award and served a summer internship with Chicago Public Schools. After graduation, she taught English for five years in low-income schools in Virginia and North Carolina. Her experience lead her to work with many educational initiatives, including: the New Schools Project, Upward Bound, Golden Leaf, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As a teacher, she completed her district's Teacher Executive Institute, hosted university students in her classroom, and earned her National Board certification. While teaching full-time, she earned her Masters of Library Science and held a graduate assistantship in the Reference Library at East Carolina University. Amanda's scholarly development has been generously supported in the past with the Erickson Research Fellowship and Summer Research Development Fellowship. She also has received funding for travel through the college and the Jurgen Herbst Travel Award from the History of Education Society, which allowed her to present at the International Standing Conference for the History of Education in Latvia in 2013. She has also traveled to Sweden with a council of Graduate Students grant and to England with a grant from the Graduate School. Amanda's primary research interest is teacher and workforce policies.

Sarah's research and teaching interests include educational politics, policy networks, district policy implementation, and instructional coaching. Her inter-disciplinary approach to academic inquiry cuts across the fields of organizational sociology, education policy and political science. Methodologically, she employs networked theories of policy change and knowledge generation, as well as mixed-methods network analysis, to answer research questions. Substantively, her research focuses on the inter-organizational dynamics of policy networks that shape research use, knowledge diffusion, and idea formation processes in educational policy domains. Her dissertation, “Building Resilience to External Accountability in an Era of District Reform: Instructional Coaching Teams and Institutional Agility,” uses district-level teams of instructional coaches as the main unit of analysis to explore networked approaches to district reform implementation and teacher development. This study adds to literature on the influence of district leadership networks and networked learning communities on instructional improvement, which has thus far focused on principals and teacher leaders. In addition, Sarah collaborates with faculty on several projects to test idea-based theories of educational policy change using political discourse data. 

Vanika is grateful to be supported by a Dean's Scholar Award, and holds a research assistantship with Dr. Amita Chudgar. Her research interests include learning outcomes of children in developing countries, early childhood education, and the economics of education. Prior to her PhD, Vanika has three plus years of experience working at Oxford Policy Management (India office), an international developing consultancy. Her work spanned the policy cycle, including quantitative and qualitative research design, analysis and diagnostic aspects of health, education and child protection evaluations. Vanika holds a Master's degree in Development Economics from the University of Sussex, UK, where her dissertation thesis studied child and household level factors that determine educational outcomes of children. She has a Bachelors (Honours) in Economics from Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi, India.

Prior to coming to MSU, Dongsook received a Master's degree in Public Policy at UCLA. She concentrated on Education Policy, in particular, she is interested in education policy evaluation: She has interest in examining the impact of policy aiming at alleviating inequalities with respect to race, gender, and social strata. Before coming to the US, Dongsook studied Public Policy at Seoul National University as well as working as a researcher at the National Information Agency in Korea. She engaged in an evaluation of policy projects conducted by the Korean government. Based on these experiences, she is generously supported by a Dean's Scholar Fellowship. She would conduct research on school finance and program evaluation during her graduate studies.

My research interest is Economics of Education and International Comparative Education. I have ten years of professional experience in these fields. I started my professional career at the World Bank HQ (Washington DC) and worked on human development statistics and assessment of gender policy for four years. Then, I moved to UNICEF Zimbabwe office, HQ (NY), and Malawi office. I engaged in capacity building of the ministry of education and national statistical agencies and education data analysis throughout my UNICEF career. I also manage NGO (Sarthak Shiksha) in Nepal since 2012 to deliver quality education to the disadvantaged children. I write articles for Japanese newspapers and online journals to explain Japanese education policy from comparative and economic perspective. I hold a master's degree in economics from Kobe University Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Japan and bachelor's degree in education from the University of Tokyo, Japan.

I have a background teaching English and English education at the secondary and post-secondary levels. After receiving a BA and an MA in English literature from California State University, Fresno, I worked for five years as a high school English and creative writing teacher. During this time I was involved with the San Joaquin Valley Writing Project, where I helped develop methods of writing instruction for the secondary level. I then served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua, supporting teachers of English as a foreign language and designing workshops on resource development and teacher collaboration. Currently at MSU, I am studying the history of economics in Education Policy in the twentieth century, specifically how the values, frameworks, and methods of economists have had significant normative effects on how federal and state policies conceptualize educational purpose, equality of educational opportunity and decision-making.

Kim graduated from Knox College in 2008 with a double major in Secondary Education and Spanish. While pursuing her undergraduate degree at Knox, she became interested in topics in Education Policy and completed a senior research project exploring the methods that local, rural school districts used to meet the needs of English Language Learners. From 2008 to 2013, Kim taught middle and high school Spanish in a rural school district in Cambridge, Illinois. At Cambridge High School, she also was part of the school improvement team and helped to develop curricular recommendations to the local school board. Her research interests include the challenges facing rural school districts, the interplay of educational control between federal, state, and local influences, and the vilification of teachers. Kim is grateful to be supported by a Dean's Scholar Award and holds a research assistantship under Dr. William Schmidt.

I joined the Education Policy program in 2014 as a dual degree doctoral student after completing two years of doctoral study in the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE) program at Michigan State University. The dual degree program will allow me to connect my strengths and research interests. My current research focuses on leadership and organizational development, the organizational policies that promote gender equity in higher education, and policies and practice that improve teaching and learning in higher education classrooms. I currently hold a Graduate Research Assistantship with Dr. Barbara Schneider as a quantitative data analyst for the College Ambition Program.

Prior to graduate school, I worked for an educational research and consulting firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I served as a field consultant for several schools in New Mexico, Arizona, South Dakota and Wisconsin as well as private schools in Jakarta, Indonesia and Istanbul, Turkey. I specialized in grant writing and creating customized assessment tools for use in student-centered classrooms and providing professional staff development for teachers and administrators. Prior to becoming a consultant I served as the Director of the College Programming Office at the University of Chicago.

As and undergraduate, I attended the University of Chicago and completed the requirements for degrees in Law, Letters and Society and Psychology with General and Special Honors. I hold a Master of Science in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology, from the Anna Freud Centre at the University College London and I received my Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law.

I majored in Psychology and minored in Public Administration in undergraduate at Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea. I studied Psychometrics for my Master's Studies at the same university. While I am interested in developing reliable and valid measurement for the education field, I would like to conduct research that produces implications for educational policy. Before I came to MSU, I had a research experience in human resource in industrial and organizational settings at the Korean National Research Institute for Vocational Education (KRIVET), where I organized on-the-spot visits to companies and schools and conducted statistical analyses of questionnaires. I started the Measurement and Quantitative Methods program at MSU in 2014, and in order to further pursue my research interest in college readiness and educational equity in terms of opportunity to learn, I joined the Ed Policy Program as my dual major.

Young-ran's research interests focus on how market-based reforms affect democratic and meritocratic equality. Her interests in education and equality began through her work at UNCEF in Korea, where she was engaged with a number of projects aimed at providing educational opportunities for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. A Fulbright Fellowship provided an opportunity to teach Korean at Claremont McKenna College and to study education at the Claremont Graduate University. While studying at CGU, she became strongly intrigued by recent U.S. education reform movements such as incorporating market principles and increasing accountability. This interest led to her decision to start an academic journey in the U.S.A. Before coming to Michigan State University, she completed a master's degree in Educational Psychology, Measurement, and Evaluation at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her long-term goal as an educational researcher is to contribute to guaranteeing equal educational opportunities, especially for disadvantaged students.

Chris is a second-year student in the Education Policy program supported by a University Distinguished Fellowship. After receiving his undergraduate degree in Secondary Science Education from the University of Kansas, Chris taught high school chemistry and physics for four years in suburban Kansas City. While teaching and completing a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction, Chris was intrigued by policy issues that ultimately led him to MSU. His interests include teacher labor markets and issues in science education.

My interest in Education Policy grew out of my addiction to the art and chaos of American politics. I've worked on political campaigns as a young volunteer in New Jersey, out of a policy shop HQ in DC and out in the field with a start-up non-profit. I concentrated my interests into the field of History, with a strong focus on critical intersectional analysis. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Federated Department of History at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers-Newark with a concentration in Legal Studies.

I spent a year in an Americorps program in Paterson, NJ, working closely with teachers, parents and administrators to improve the academic achievement of a third grade class. I learned there that the way policy filters down to the stakeholders in our education system, especially teachers and administrators, is the result of a complex and wildly difficult to understand mesh of fact, fiction and everything in between.

I am most interested in systems and organizational theory, so getting some hands on experience in the field was crucial. I am working as a student in the Education Policy program to understand more about interlocking, overlapping and (sometimes) contradictory systems that affect the everyday experience of teachers and students in classrooms. I also am looking at the influence of non-profit organizations and foundations, the role of legislative councils and model legislation on policy and the institutional backlash to rapid, experimental change.

Jessica earned her BA in Elementary Education from Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, IN. Following graduation she moved to Ann Arbor and received her MA in Early Childhood Education from the University of Michigan. During this time her passion for the first three years of life blossomed and she accepted a teaching position at Gretchen's House, a local Child Development Center, which had a research partnership with HighScope of Ypsilanti.

During her fourth of five years at Gretchen's House, Jessica traveled to Tanzania to volunteer in an elementary school in Moshi, Kilimanjaro. This trip solidified her decision to pursue a Doctoral degree in Education Policy with an international focus.

Realizing that the first three years of life often revolve around more than education, Jessica pursued a research position with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program. There she worked with scholars from various medical backgrounds to understand how Public Health Policy is researched and discovered many links and commonalities with her own early childhood interest.

Jessica entered the Education Policy program in the Fall of 2015, and is working with Dr. Bethany Wilinski on her Tanzania project. In addition, she plans to explore various topics including comparative international policy involving early childhood education, public programs supporting the first three years of a child's development, and how public opinion and media affect policy creation and adoption.

I was born and raised in Long Beach, California. I received my Bachelor or Arts degree in Feminist Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. My training in Feminist Studies has encouraged me to look at the challenges in our world as interconnected social and human rights issues. While studying at UC Santa Barbara I became a part of the McNair Scholars Program. The McNair Scholars program seeks to prepare underrepresented minorities to pursue their doctorate degrees in a variety of academic fields. As a McNair Scholar I engaged in various independent research projects, which sparked my interest in researching the field of education. My personal background, coupled with my research experiences, has led me to pursue my PhD in Education Policy. My research interests are founded on my desire for educational equity. As a student in the doctoral program I look forward to exploring the relationship between education policies and the needs, values, and desires of the educational system in which they exist. I am excited and grateful to embark on this educational journey at Michigan State University as a University Fellow and a student in the Education Policy Program. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me my email is: amieris_lavender@hotmail.com

From Beijing Normal University in mainland China, Wei received his bachelor's degree in management science in 2008 and a master's degree in teacher education in 2011. During his graduate study there, he worked as a research assistant in several projects about China's teacher education policy, such as the Study on Reconstructing China's Modern Teacher Education System, the Research on China's Free Teacher Education Program, and the Intel Teach to the Future Program Evaluation. Besides research, Wei also has been an English tutor for elementary students for three years, and has worked as a tutor trainer for undergraduate students for almost two years. Wei's experience in research and teaching triggered his strong interest in teacher quality, teacher-related policies, and the relationship between these two things. In order to further explore these interests, he started his doctoral study in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education program in fall 2012. One year later, he joined the Education Policy program to pursue a dual degree, which has enabled him to study teacher quality through the Education Policy perspective. The following key themes identify Wei's current research interests: teacher quality, Education Policy, comparative education, and quantitative analysis.

I developed an interest in Interdisciplinary Education while studying English Literature at UC Berkeley. At the Townsend Center for the Humanities I worked as an apprentice developing their Course Threads Program and engaging students in interdisciplinary programming outside of a traditional departmental setting. After receiving my B.A. I continued to focus on Interdisciplinary Education by pursuing a Masters of Arts in Philosophy of Education at UCLA. My research focused on the philosophical groundwork necessary to accept and develop Interdisciplinary curriculum as well an ethnographic study of a high school interdisciplinary program. I then worked for UC Berkeley as a researcher for the Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies Department studying best practices in interdisciplinary majors at top universities across the country. This work led to assisting in the redesign of the Interdisciplinary Studies major at Berkeley and management of the Freshman Seminars program. My current interests lie in Interdisciplinary programming in higher education and how to best prepare students for an interdisciplinary society.

I am a native Michigander, who is excited to be pursuing doctoral studies at MSU. After earning my B.S. in Biology at Oakland University, I worked in various capacities in education as a: teacher, district manager for a Supplemental Educational Service provider, Teach For America field instructor, summer school administrator. My experiences have enabled me to work in cities across the state such as Detroit, Lansing, Flint, Pontiac, Albion, and Grand Rapids to name a few. These experiences exposed to me a disconnect between policies and how they manifest in classrooms and in academic support programs, which inspired me to learn more about policy implementation. I then earned my M.A. in Educational Studies, focusing on Education Policy and administrative certification, from The University of Michigan. While at Michigan, I worked with Dr. Vilma Mesa on the Inquiry Based Learning project as an investigation assistant. This experience demonstrated the potential of educational research, as well allowed me to provide a voice to students in an academic setting. As a University Distinguished Fellow, I am interested in understanding how policies can support science educational programming in urban educational contexts, specifically focusing on administrative supports.

Kacy entered the Education Policy program in the fall of 2013. After completing a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan, she stayed at U of M to pursue a Master's degree in Elementary Education and English as a Second Language Instruction. Kacy then taught fourth grade in the Chicago Public Schools for four years. She served on the Instructional Leadership Team, writing the literacy and science curricula and creating professional learning cycles to improve teacher practices in reading instruction.

Kacy is now working with the Center for the Study of Curriculum at Michigan State University. Her research interests include: Educational governance in urban public schools, the impact of urban planning on school enrollment and student achievement, and the politics of educational reform at the local and state levels.

It is a great honor to enter MSU's Education Policy Ph.D. program. For the ten years prior to relocating to Michigan, East Africa was my home. In that time I worked, learned, taught, struggled, overcame, reflected, and matured in ways I never would have expected. I had big dreams when I started my non-governmental organization, African Development through Economics and the Arts (ADEA), and much was achieved in the areas of economic development, cultural preservation and promotion, and primary education for a marginalized community of Maasai. But the more that was accomplished, the more I realized I had much to learn. I have entered MSU with many questions. The breadth of departments and international focus of many of the faculty's work makes MSU an ideal place for me to explore my broad interests. The welcoming nature of the faculty encourages engagement in learning and research. A native of Seattle, I studied at Whitworth College and the Rhode Island School of Design. My life has been filled with countless adventures, and MSU is the latest.

I am entering my fourth year in the Ph.D. program in Education Policy at Michigan State University. I am passionate about history and social studies education, and have concentrated my studies in issues of teaching and learning. My research currently focuses on secondary school teachers and the impact of high stakes testing and citizenship exit exams on their practice and conception of instruction. I also am interested in how elementary school teachers conceive of social studies instruction amidst accountability policies that seem to value other subjects. In all, I find great satisfaction in the democratic hope offered by vibrant social studies classrooms in which teachers and students co-construct their learning experiences.

I taught for six years at Weddington High School in North Carolina, and this experience continues to shape how I think about and engage with education. I believe in empowering students as lifelong learners, and not making history about subscribing to a particular set of beliefs. This principle continues to guide my belief that education should be freeing for individuals, and should respect diverse experiences in the process.

I have received generous research assistantship opportunities through the Education Policy Center at MSU supporting my work with Dr. Kristy Cooper. These experiences have empowered me to contribute to all facets of the research process, from project conception and data production through analysis and publication. Additionally, I have benefitted by working on projects anchored on student engagement and teacher beliefs, which have offered fresh perspectives to bring to my own instruction. I am set to begin my second year leading sections of TE404, Teaching Social Studies to Diverse Learners, a course designed for pre-service elementary candidates.

Personally, I enjoy the community of MSU and the greater Lansing area. It has been an awesome place to grow as a scholar and professional. From a personal standpoint, it is also a fun place to raise a family. My wife and I value raising our daughter and son as Spartans!

Alyssa Morley is a native Michigander whose experiences as an undergraduate student in North Carolina and a teacher in Africa brought her back to Michigan for studies in Education Policy. Alyssa graduated from Elon University in 2008 with double majors in Anthropology and Sociology. From the fall of 2008 through the spring of 2011, she worked in Malawi through the U.S. Peace Corps. Her main role as a Peace Corps Volunteer was teaching at a rural secondary school. She also volunteered at the local primary school and mentored her school's girls club. In these positions, she gained insight into the unique challenges of rural education and became interested in the ways Education Policy is enacted in local contexts.

Alyssa is entering her first year as an Education Policy Ph.D. student. She looks forward to engaging with the education, anthropology, and African Studies communities at MSU, and plans to focus her studies on international comparative education.

Jesse entered the Education Policy PhD Program in the Fall of 2016. Building on a background in Economics, his research interests primarily center around teacher labor markets and how incentives within them can influence teacher supply and teacher quality. Other areas of interest include educational equity, postsecondary aid, and the role of information in schooling decisions. Jesse is currently working in the Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) investigating teacher behavior following recent labor reforms in Michigan. Jesse graduated with a B.S. in Economics from Michigan State University in the Spring of 2016.

Jutaro Sakamoto is a first-year doctoral student in the Education Policy Program at Michigan State University. As a recipient of the Dean's Scholar Award, he conducts research into Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in education to demonstrate how private engagement can be leveraged to meet the growing demand for education, address the inequality, and improve the quality and efficiency of education services in impoverished nations. Current research interests include impact evaluation of education PPPs and analysis of their success factors and causal mechanisms. Sakamoto has over 10 years of experience of leading international education initiatives. He implemented education reform in low and middle income countries as diverse as Ghana, Guyana, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Tanzania and Vietnam as a monitoring and evaluation expert for international development organizations including the World Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In addition, he coordinated the development, implementation and evaluation of global education programs and strategies at UNESCO Headquarters in France. Sakamoto holds a master's degree in international education policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, USA, and a bachelor's degree in education from the Sophia University, Japan. He is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Six Sigma Green Belt (CSSGB).

Danielle Sanderson is a recipient of the MSU University Distinguished Fellowship. Her current research interests focus on how policy affects the distribution of students and teachers across districts, schools, and classrooms. Specifically, she is concerned with the impacts of policy on underserved populations, both urban and rural. The purpose of her research is to help policymakers understand the effects of policy not only on student outcomes but on teacher retention, recruitment, and distribution as well as student mobility. Prior to enrolling at MSU, Danielle taught high school mathematics at a charter school in New Orleans. She received her Bachelor's degrees from Stetson University in Economics and History with a Mathematics minor.

Before entering the educational policy program, Corey earned a B.S. and M.Ed. from the University of Massachusetts and an M.A. from New York University. Corey has experience teaching in the U.S. and abroad and has worked in research and consulting roles at MDRC, ETS, Achievement First, Excellent Schools Detroit, NYU research centers, and other nonprofits. His research interests include the teacher labor market, measuring teacher and teaching effectivenss, teacher education and training, social studies and civics education, large scale cross-national surveys, impacts of school counselors, and school scheduling and transportation.

Michelle Solorio is a Colorado native with research interests in language policies, African education systems, and refugee education policies. She received a B.S.B.A. in International Business with a French minor from the University of Denver followed by an M.Ed. in International Education Policy and Management from Peabody College at Vanderbilt. During her undergraduate career, she participated in a year-long direct exchange program in Paris, where she attended l'Université Paris IX-Dauphine and was an au pair for a French family with three children. She has worked in a variety of international offices, taught inner-city children in Nashville in non-traditional school settings, and was most recently a Study Abroad Advisor & Incoming Exchanges Coordinator at Vanderbilt University responsible for student mobility to/from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Oceania as well as France.

Michelle is entering her first year as an Education Policy Ph.D. student. She is eager to take advantage of MSU's strong African Studies and Education Policy communities in order to continue her studies in international education policy.

Chris received a BA in history with a minor in cultural anthropology from the University of Michigan. During her time there, she was heavily involved in residential education programming and residence hall student government leadership. Her studies focused on social and structural inequalities around the world and throughout history.

After graduation, she completed a year of AmeriCorps service as an adult education instructor and advisor in some of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods of Washington, DC. Her work with students aged 15-80, at a broad range of skill levels, sparked her desire to learn more about education systems in which some students thrive but many others struggle.

Upon entering the MA program in Education Policy & Leadership at the University of Michigan School of Education, Chris engaged in study of the social and historical foundations of schooling. She also served an internship at the Family Learning Institute, a volunteer-based after-school tutoring program for low-income students. She has conducted research on similar tutoring programs to isolate best practices among successful tutoring models. Since graduation, she has explored these and other education issues through her blog, "Where's My Eraser? The Marvels and Mishaps of My American Education Experience."

Chris' research interests include parental involvement and how parents view their children's educational experiences. She is also passionate about expanding educational opportunities in her home state of Michigan. She is a fellowship recipient and will serve as a research assistant at the Education Policy Center.

I entered the Education Policy program in the fall of 2016. After completing a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya I taught Mathematics and business studies in a high school for two years before joining the same university to do a Masters in Development Studies. During and after this master's degree I worked with different development research projects as a research assistant, field supervisor, and a project assistant. I came Michigan State University in 2014 to pursue to a Master of Public Policy (MPP), which I earned in the spring of 2016. My research interests are on inequalities in education with specific focus on developing countries. My interests stem from my experience growing up in rural Kenya and noticing the differences in educational opportunities based on geographic location and gender.

As an undergraduate student at Michigan State University, I studied human biology through Lyman Briggs College, taught biology labs to undergraduate underclassmen, and conducted pharmacology research. Through those opportunities, I discovered my love for teaching in addition to my love for science, and continued on at MSU as a post-baccalaureate in the secondary teacher education program with certifications to teach biology, chemistry, integrated science, and English. The summer before my teaching internship, I was fortunate enough to embark on trip to Finland with my current advisor, another graduate student, and other teachers involved in the project to reflect on curricular and teaching policies within Finnish science classrooms. My experiences within the classroom led me to pursue the Education Policy PhD program, supported as an Erickson Research Fellow and University Rasmussen Fellow, interested in matters of STEM education policy and curriculum reform.

For sixteen years before entering the Education Policy doctoral program, Dirk F. Zuschlag was a high school social studies teacher in the Waterford School District, Oakland County, Michigan. Zuschlag began teaching in 1999 immediately following his graduation from the School of Education at the University of Michigan with a Masters of Arts in Education degree and a secondary teaching certificate. Since then, Zuschlag has taught students at all high school grade levels in courses such as civics, government, economics, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP Macroeconomics, world history, AP World History, U.S. History, and law. He has in addition served in a wide variety of positions entailing substantial teacher leader responsibilities at the department, school and district levels. For the last three years as a learning coach in the district Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Zuschlag has planned, prepared, and conducted diverse professional development district-wide. This work has included the creation and implementation of innovative teacher and principal learning labs as a major component of district-provided job-embedded professional learning. (Zuschlag had led the initiation of J-EPL labs at his high school, which resulted in the establishment of the district learning coach positions and mission.) While a teacher and coach, Zuschlag was also highly active in the local union, the Waterford Education Association, holding several representative and executive offices.

During his time in public education, Zuschlag has participated in a number of projects through Oakland Schools, involving, for example, work on the wholly on-line Michigan Citizenship Collaborative Curriculum, the proposed revision of the high school social studies content expectations, and a pilot study of students' civics discourse conducted by Wayne State University researchers. From 2004 to 2014, Zuschlag served two terms as one of five governor appointed members on the State Teacher Tenure Commission. The commission is quasi-judicial administrative tribunal charged with enforcement of the Michigan Teacher Tenure Act.

Before entering public education, Zuschlag engaged in the private practice of law for thirteen years, about nine years of which he worked as an original named shareholder in a successful six member firm. Zuschlag's practice in state and federal courts and administrative agencies focused on public sector labor law. It included the representation of individual teachers and educational support staff, police officers and firefighters, and other public employees, as well as their local and state labor organizations. He was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in following graduation from the University of Michigan Law School (1985 J.D. cum laude), and he remains a member in good standing. Majoring in political science and economics at Duke University, Zuschlag in 1982 earned his A.B. degree magna cum laude as an A.B. Duke Scholar.

Very fortunately for him, Zuschlag met his awesome wife-to-be, Sharon, at Duke. They married following graduation, and moved to Michigan the same summer so Zuschlag could attend law school. For over thirty-three years now, they have been happily married and living in southeastern Michigan. They have, largely thanks to their mother, two awesome adult sons. The elder son, Jeff, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan in 2013. He now lives in Los Angeles, while working in the movie industry. The younger son, Mark, recently graduated from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. In August 2015, he will be moving to Japan for at least a year, where he will teach English through the government's Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) program.