CEPA People

Graduate Students

Rachel ( is a doctoral student in Higher Education Policy and the Economics of Education at Stanford University and a Jack Kent Cooke Dissertation Fellow. Rachel studies inequalities in access to and success in higher education using behavioral economic models of decision making and quasi-experimental and experimental methods. Her job market paper, "Responses to Increased Structure in Community Colleges" examines how students and institutions responded to a state-wide policy smoothing the transfer process between two- and four-year schools. Rachel's other work includes agent based simulations of race- and ses-based affirmative action policies, a study of students' knowledge of labor market outcomes, and descriptive and experimental work on persistence in online classes. She works closely with the California Community Colleges. Rachel graduated in 2004 with a B.A. in psychology and elementary education from Dartmouth College. Her professional experience includes teaching elementary school in the Marshall Islands, working as a literacy specialist at a school for the Deaf, and coordinating college readiness programming at The Steppingstone Foundation in Boston.

Sarah Bardack

Sarah ( is a doctoral student in the Developmental and Psychological Sciences program at Stanford University and a recipient of the IES fellowship training grant. She holds a B.A. in French and Comparative Literature from New York University and an M.P.P. from the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute, where she wrote a master’s thesis examining the determinants of participation in early childhood development programs in India.

Sade Bonilla

Sade ( is a doctoral student studying the economics of education at Stanford University. She is interested in the use of student surveys to evaluate teacher performance in multiple measure teacher evaluation systems, in addition to the relationship between student preparation and their enrollment and persistence in higher education.

Shannon Brady

Shannon ( is doctoral student in Developmental and Psychological Sciences at Stanford University. She earned a BA from Lewis & Clark College and a MS in curriculum and instruction from Black Hills State University. Prior to Stanford, she taught middle and elementary school for five years on the Pine Ridge (Oglala Lakota) Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Working in collaboration with Geoff Cohen, her research interests include psychological interventions in educational settings, motivation, and school culture.

Lindsay Brown

Lindsay ( is a doctoral student in Curriculum and Teacher Education. She graduated in 2005 from Syracuse University with B.A.s in Anthropology and Photo Illustration and minors in Education and Non-Violent Conflict and Change. Prior to her doctoral studies, Lindsay taught middle school English and ESL in Roma, Texas, and at an International Baccalaureate school in Punta Del Este, Uruguay.

Christopher Candelaria

Christopher ( is a doctoral student in the Economics of Education program. He graduated from Stanford University in 2006 with a B.A. in Economics. Prior to his doctoral studies, he worked for four years as a research associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. His research interests include teacher labor markets, education finance, and quantitative methods in education research. At Stanford, Christopher is also pursing a master's degree in Economics.

Susana Claro

Susana ( is an economics of education doctoral student from Chile. Her research interests focus on improving education for low income students. Currently, Susana studies what leads teachers to have an impact in these communities. She works with her advisor Susanna Loeb and with Steven Farr at Teach For All. Susana is the co-founder of Enseña Chile, which is part of the Teach for All network since 2008.

Tassia Cruz

Tassia ( is a doctoral student in the Economics of Education program. Before coming to Stanford, Tassia worked for the World Bank in teacher incentives impact evaluations, early childhood programs and classroom observation methods in Latin America and Caribbean, working mainly with Brazil. She received a B.A. in Economics from Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her current research interests focus on teachers labor market.

Nina Cunha

Nina ( is a doctoral student in the Economics of Education and Educational Policy programs. She received a B.A. in Economics from the São Paulo School of Economics (EESP) – Fundação Getúlio Vargas- and a M.A. in Economics from the Federal University of Minas Gerais. Her current research interests include economics of education; low SES student access to University in Brazil and teacher evaluation.

Chris Doss

Chris ( is a doctoral candidate in the Economics of Education program at the Stanford University School of Education. He received a B.S. in Chemistry from Brown University in 2003 and a Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2008. Before arriving at Stanford, Chris taught high school physics and chemistry for seven years in both public and private schools.

Lindsay Fox

Lindsay ( is a doctoral student in the Economics of Education program at Stanford University. She received a B.A. in Mathematical Economics from Colorado College in 2005. After graduating, Lindsay worked for a year as a public interest fellow at the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, followed by two years as a research assistant at the Federal Reserve Board.

Oded Gurantz

Oded ( is a doctoral student in Education Policy and an IES fellow. He received his M.S. in Applied Economics and Finance from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to entering the doctoral program he worked for the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities and was the Senior Policy Analyst for the Youth Data Archive initiative, where his most recent work focused on student transitions from high school into community college.

Brian Holzman

Brian ( is a doctoral candidate in Sociology of Education at Stanford University. He received a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Sociology, Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies, and Spanish in 2006. Following graduation, Brian interned on the Policy and Budget Team at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and worked as a Senior Program Support Representative at Reading is Fundamental, Inc.

Brenda Jarillo

Brenda Jarillo Rabling is a Ph.D. candidate in International and Comparative Education at Stanford University under the supervision of Professor Martin Carnoy. Brenda grew up in Mexico, where she received a B.A. in Economics. Prior to Stanford, she spent two years doing research in public finance at the Mexican Central Back and Citigroup Mexico. Brenda’s research interests include early childhood interventions, cultural and ethnic differences in parenting behaviors and children's outcomes, equity in education, and achievement gaps.

June Park John

June ( is a doctoral student in the Economics of Education and International Comparative Education programs at Stanford University. She holds a B.A. in Human Biology and M.S. in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University and an M.A. in Education from UC-Berkeley. June spent two years working as a Research Analyst at the Center for Education Policy at SRI International. Prior to starting her doctoral program, she spent two and a half years in Indonesia, where she worked with an education NGO and helped pioneer its teacher training program.

Jamie Johnston

Jamie ( is a doctoral student in the Economics of Education and International Comparative Education programs at Stanford University. She holds a B.S. in Social Policy from Northwestern University and an M.P.P. from the University of Chicago. Previously, Jamie completed a Fulbright fellowship in Hong Kong, studying the educational outcomes of immigrant students. She also spent several years managing field operations for Innovations for Poverty Action in Mongolia.

Bernardo Lara

Bernardo ( is a student in the Economics of Education PhD program. He has a bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering and a Master degree in Applied Economics, both obtained at the University of Chile. His research interests include voucher systems and higher education, with a special focus on the interaction of private and public schools in educational markets.

Mana Nakagawa

Mana ( is a doctoral student in the International Comparative Education program at Stanford University. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 with a B.A. in Sociology and East Asian Studies. After graduation, Mana received a Fulbright Fellowship to study alternative education programs in Japan. She also spent a second year in Japan at the United Nations Institute of Advanced Studies where she worked on gender equity issues for UNESCO's Education for Sustainable Development initiative.

Ximena ( is a doctoral candidate in the Developmental and Psychological Sciences program at Stanford University and is a recipient of the IES fellowship training grant. She received her B.A. in Psychology from New York University in 2003. Post graduation, Ximena was employed by NYU on the Early Head Start National Evaluation Project, and served as the research coordinator for a longitudinal study on culture's role in the development and school readiness of low-income, ethnically diverse immigrant children. Before coming to Stanford, Ximena was a research associate for the Family Well-Being and Child Development policy area at MDRC, where she managed evaluations of early childhood and mental health interventions. Her research interests include early childhood development, domestic & international early childhood & social policy, resilience, executive functioning, stress reactivity, social inequality in early childhood, and interventions targeting adaptation for diverse, low-income children. She is advised by Jelena Obradović and Sean Reardon.

Natassia Rodriguez

Natassia ( is a doctoral student in the Sociology program and an IES fellow at Stanford University. She received her B.A. in Sociology and Social & Education Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned Highest Honors and Phi Beta Kappa. During her time at UNC-CH, she worked as a Research Assistant in the Sociology department and worked with the UNC-CH Roosevelt Institute Education Group. Her most recent projects examined the employment outcomes of college graduates and inequalities in educational attainment among Latino ethnic groups.

Ben Shear

Benjamin ( is a doctoral student in the Developmental and Psychological Sciences program studying psychometrics and education policy. He earned his B.A. in Philosophy and Mathematics from Dartmouth College in 2006, and recently completed his M.A. in Measurement, Evaluation & Research Methodology at the University of British Columbia. Prior to completing his M.A., Ben taught high school mathematics at the Eagle Rock School in Estes Park, CO. His research interests include evaluating the uses and misuses of educational tests for research and accountability purposes, test validation methods and practices, and the assessment of mathematics teachers' disciplinary knowledge.

Ken ( is a doctoral candidate in the Administration and Policy Analysis program at Stanford University. He received his B.S. in Economics from the University of Rhode Island in 2003. Prior to coming to Stanford, he was a teacher for five years in Pueblo Pintado, a small Navajo community in the northwest region of New Mexico. He also taught for two years in Quito, Ecuador. Ken studies patterns and trends of educational inequality and the political tools at our disposal for addressing these inequalities. His current work investigates the effects of court-ordered school finance reform.

Jim Soland

Jim ( is a doctoral student in Developmental and Psychological Sciences. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Haverford College and Master’s degree in Education from Stanford. Between 2008 and 2011, Jim served as a Senior Fiscal and Policy Analyst at the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) in Sacramento, where he evaluated state and federal projects related to K-12 assessment, standards (including Common Core implementation), and district improvement.

Nicole Strayer

Nicole ( is a doctoral student in the Developmental and Psychological Sciences program at Stanford University. She holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from Wesleyan University, where she completed an honors thesis exploring identity formation in Spanish-speaking immigrant communities. Before coming to Stanford, Nicole worked as a research assistant in Dr. Cybele Raver's Chicago School Readiness Project Lab at New York University.

Eric Taylor
Eric Taylor ( is a doctoral student at Stanford University, and a Spencer Dissertation Fellow for 2014-15. Eric studies labor and personnel economics in the education sector, and applied econometric methods. His job market paper “New Technology and Teacher Productivity” examines how new instructional computer technology affects classroom teachers’ productivity and job decisions. Eric’s previous research has been published in the American Economic Review, Journal of Human Resources, and Journal of Public Economics. His research on teacher evaluation has been featured in Slate, Time, The Washington Post, and Education Week. In 2013 Eric was recognized for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring by the Stanford GSE, and in 2006 he received the Chancellor’s Service Award at UCLA. Prior to Stanford, Eric worked at Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research.
Joe Townsend

Joe ( is a doctoral student in Educational Policy. His research interests include schools’ efforts at evidence-informed decision-making, and the use and development of technology-based research tools. Joe has worked as a resource development consultant for social service nonprofits, and more recently as a Research Manager at Empirical Education Inc. Here Joe managed school program evaluations and contributed to the development of web-based research services designed to bring analytical tools to school decision makers. He completed his undergraduate studies at Haverford College, and has a Master’s degree in Education from Stanford University.

Ilana Umansky

Ilana ( is a doctoral student, studies tracking, course placement, and access to academic content among Latino immigrant and English learner students. She is currently collaborating with school districts in San Francisco and Salem, OR as they work to improve educational opportunities for their Latino EL students. Her background is in educational equity and quality research in Nicaragua, Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, and other countries in Latin America. She has a Masters degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is returning to academia after working with the World Bank, the Organization of American States, Research Triangle Institute, and Sesame Workshop.

Rachel Valentino ( is a doctoral candidate in Administration and Policy Analysis and is an Institute for Education Sciences fellow at Stanford. Rachel studies the effects of early childhood education (ECE) policies and practices on a variety of child outcomes, with a particular focus on the measurement and implications of high quality instructional approaches for English learners (ELs) and racially and socioeconomically underrepresented children. For the past four years she has worked in collaboration with San Francisco Unified School District on research designed to improve the educational opportunities of their EL students. Her most recent professional experience includes her position as a researcher at the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), where she worked with state departments of education to evaluate their publicly funded pre-K programs through large-scale and longitudinal research studies.

Ericka is a doctoral student in Educational Policy. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Hampton University and a M.A. in Policy Studies from the University of Washington Bothell. Before coming to Stanford, Ericka worked as a Research Coordinator in the Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy at the University of Washington. Her research interests include racial and socioeconomic disparities in education.

Camille Whitney

Camille ( is a doctoral candidate in the Economics of Education and an IES fellow. After receiving her B.A. in Economics from Smith College, she taught high school math in Memphis. She most recently worked as a Research Analyst in education at Child Trends in Washington, D.C. Her research interests include the distribution and effectiveness of teachers and administrators, identifying effective educational policies and practices for underserved students, and fostering socio-emotional skills in school.

Betsy Williams

Betsy ( is a doctoral student in the Economics of Education, focused on higher education. After concentrating in urban governance in the Ethics, Politics & Economics major at Yale, Betsy worked for three years with Cornerstone Research in economic litigation consulting. Her research interests include community colleges, the supply side of higher education, and the determinants of student decision-making.

Ben York

Ben ( York is a Ph.D. candidate in the Administration and Policy Analysis program and an Institute of Education Sciences Fellow. He received an M.A. in Political Science from Stanford and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Prior to starting his Ph.D. program, he worked in investment banking, at an education foundation, and as an after-school program director at a public elementary school. Ben uses experimental and quasi-experimental analysis techniques to study the effects of providing theoretically-helpful information to parents and teachers of young children. He also develops and tests early childhood education programs.

Rosalia Zarate

Rosalia ( is a doctoral student in the Developmental and Psychological Sciences Program. She received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mathematical Sciences from the University of California at Santa Barbara in June of 2012. Rosalia’s research interests include the motivation and retention of minorities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, quantitative methods in educational research, educational statistics, mathematical modeling and linear regression.