Who We Are


Principal Investigator

Richard Arum

Richard Arum

Richard is a professor in the Department of Sociology with a joint appointment in the Steinhardt School of Education, as well as Interim Director of the Institute for Human Development and Social Change at New York University. He is also Director of the Education Research Program of the Social Science Research Council, where he oversaw the development of the Research Alliance for New York City Schools, a research consortium designed to conduct ongoing evaluation of the New York City public schools. He is coauthor of Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (University of Chicago Press, 2011), the author of Judging School Discipline: The Crisis of Moral Authority in American Schools (Harvard University Press, 2003), and co-editor of comparative studies on: expansion, differentiation and access to higher education in fifteen countries, Stratification in Higher Education: A Comparative Study (Stanford University Press, 2007); school discipline, Improving Learning Environments: School Discipline and Student Achievement in Comparative Perspective (Stanford University Press, 2012); and self-employment, The Reemergence of Self-Employment: A Comparative Study of Self-Employment Dynamics and Social Inequality (Princeton, 2004). Arum received a Masters of Education in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.



Project Management

 Erin BradleyProject Manager, Chicago


Erin is the Project Manager for the Connecting Youth: Digital Learning Research Project. Prior to her work on the Connecting Youth team, she worked as a research assistant on the Consortium on Chicago School Research's YOUmedia project. Erin received a BA in History and Hispanic Studies from Illinois Wesleyan University, and an MA in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. 


Research Staff, Chicago

Kiley Larson

Kiley Larson, Postdoctoral Scholar

Kiley joined the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub as a Postdoctoral Researcher in 2011. Broadly, her research examines the ways in which people attach meanings to the use of technologies and how those meanings are connected to their socio-historical contexts. Most recently, Kiley has studied the communicative practices of young adults in a university setting as they negotiated the use of new technologies in forming and maintaining romantic and/or sexual relationships.  She has also examined how rural Kansans developed understandings of internet use in their everyday lives and how those understandings related to larger (sub)urban/rural inequalities in internet-based technology use.

Nathan Riemer, Doctoral Researcher

Nathan received his BA in Political Science and Sociology from Aurora University, Aurora, Illionois. He also holds MAs in Social Sciences and Sociology from The University of Chicago where he is currently working towards his Phd in Sociology.

Cecilia Ackerman, Research Administrator 

Cecilia received an MA in Social Science from the University of Chicago and a BA in Anthropology and Studio Art from the University of Vermont. Her research interests include interdisciplinary education, visual studies, and the history of science and technology. She has worked with youth in service-learning programs at NGOs in Mexico and Peru, and in museum education programs for South Side Chicago public schools.


Katherine (Katie) Wartella, Research Assistant

Katie is a graduate of Tufts University where she received her BA in Psychology. She has recently moved to Chicago and is excited to continue pursuing her research interest in child development, education, and prosocial media. She has previously worked with children of all ages through a wide variety of opportunities including conducting play testing with WGBH’s Kids Digital department, directing a student-led improv troupe, and organizing an outreach program with the Boys and Girls Club of America. 


 Research Staff, New York City

Emily Frank

Emily FrankResearch Assistant

Emily is currently a sophomore at New York University, majoring in Sociology.  She is very excited to be involved in this research.  Her responsibilities include reviewing, scrubbing, and coding transcripts.

Anindya Kundu, Doctoral Researcher

Anindya is a first-year doctoral student at New York University, studying Sociology of Education. Prior to graduate school, Anindya worked as a Consultant to the New York City Department of Education. Anindya received his BA from The University of Chicago, in Law, Letters and Society with a minor in English and Creative Writing. He received his first taste of youth policy research after graduation, working with University of Chicago and Northwestern, to measure the effects of Cognitive Behavioral Training on recidivism rates at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center.


Jeannie KimDoctoral Researcher

Jeannie is a PhD candidate in Sociology at New York University, and her research interests include education, race, and stratification. Before starting her doctoral program at NYU, she taught middle school mathematics in Brooklyn as a New York City Teaching Fellow and worked as a program coordinator for the Education Research Program at the Social Science Research Council. She received her BA in History from Brown University and her M.Ed in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Jessica Lipschultz, Doctoral Researcher

Jessica is a doctoral student in Sociology of Education (NYU) and is interested in juvenile justice work and court-involved youth. Prior to beginning her doctoral work, Jessica was the program officer at Youth Development Institute, focusing on literacy policy and practices for young people pursuing their GED.  Jessica has also served as an adjunct instructor at CUNY City College, a curriculum designer, staff developer, and elementary school teacher in New York City public schools. Jessica received her B.A. from Tufts University in Child Development and Psychology and her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Teachers College, Columbia University. 

W. Max Meyer

W. Max Meyer, Doctoral Researcher

Max is a doctoral student in science education at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Following training and experience as a tree biologist, he spent most of the last two decades teaching high school biology and other sciences in the United States and abroad. His current research interests center on how organizational and experiential factors influence educators’ understandings and implementations of content and pedagogical ideas.

Emma Mishel, Quantitative Research Coordinator

Emma received her MA in Applied Quantitative Research, Sociology from the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University in 2014. Her research interests include education & youth, gender studies, queer studies, inequalities, and film & media studies. She also holds a BA in Literary Journalism and Film and Media Studies from University of California, Irvine. Prior to joining the Connecting Youth team as the lead effort in data analysis, Emma worked for several nonprofit organizations, start-ups, and corporations and enjoys conducting research in different forms..

Jason Thompson

Jason Thompson, Doctoral Researcher

Jason is a PhD student in Sociology at New York University focusing on quantitative methods, education, and stratification.  Prior to his studies at NYU, Jason graduated with a BA in Sociology from the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State University and taught third grade in Phoenix, Arizona as a member of Teach for America.


 Raynika Trent, Research Associate


Raynika received a BA from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, an EdM in Human Resource Education from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and an MA in Food Studies from New York University.


 Nikolaus Hajny, Programmer and Game Developer


Nikolaus is the Senior Programmer and Game Developer for New York University’s CREATE Lab and the Connecting Youth Project.  His games include Light Lanes, Noobs versus Leets,  and Space Ranger Alien Game, as well as the CREATE DREAM online platform.  He is also Technical Director for ArtFile Magazine.  He received his Master’s in Science Education from New York University and his Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.



Research Consultants

Christo Sims

Christo Sims

Christo received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley's School of Information in 2012. He is a researcher for the Collected Learning Research Network at the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub, and studies the relationships between digital media and the production of privilege amongst children and young people coming of age today. Between 2005 and 2008, he was a graduate researcher for the Digital Youth Project, a three-year ethnographic study of how youth in the U.S. use new media in their everyday lives. He is a co-author of Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media (The MIT Press, 2010).

Jane Park

Jane Park

Jane received a BA in American Literature and Culture from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MA in Leadership, Policy, and Politics from Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to consulting for the project, Jane served as Project Manager.