IES-PIRT Fellows Profiles

Cohort of 2016-2017


Four-Year Fellows

Fabian Barch received a 4-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 1st year PhD student in the Sociology of Education program in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at NYU Steinhardt. His current research interests include access to educational opportunity, and prison-based education programs. He earned his Bachelor's degree at Washington University in St. Louis in May 2016, double majoring in Education Studies and French with a minor in Psychological and Brain Sciences.

S. Sana Fatima received a 4-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 1st year PhD student at the NYU Wagner School.She is a Graduate Assistant at the Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) where she is currently exploring the effects of neighborhood characteristics in shaping the special education students population as well as looking at the effects of recent policy reforms for special education students in New York City. Her research interests lie at the intersection of education, health and labor economics. Prior to joining NYU, she worked as a researcher at the John J. Heldrich Center for Labor and Workforce Development (Rutgers University), as an analyst at Abt Associates Inc. and as an Economic and Community Development Research Assistant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Economics from New York University (NYU). Her advisor and research mentor is Leanna Stiefel.

Jill Gandhi received a 4-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 1st year PhD student in the Developmental Psychology program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. Jill works with Dr. Cybele Raver and Dr. Clancy Blair. She is broadly interested in examining parental and institutional inputs on early childhood educational development, particularly among children from low-income families. She received her B.A. in Plan II Honors and Psychology from the University of Texas. Jill later went on to earn her M.A. in social sciences at the University of Chicago, where she completed a thesis on the relationship between the frequency of early parental math talk and children’s later math anxiety. For the last two years, she worked under the mentorship of Dr. Ariel Kalil and Dr. Susan Mayer at the University of Chicago’s Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab, where she coordinated parenting interventions in Head Start centers. 

Nick Mark received a 4-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 1st year PhD student in Sociology. He is interested in education, inequality, stratification, and the organization of schooling. He received his B.A. in Economics from Johns Hopkins University in 2011, and went on to teach middle school in New Orleans from 2011-2015. Nick then returned to school to complete an MA in Politics and Education with Prof. Jeffrey Henig at Teachers College, Columbia University, before matriculating at NYU. He is currently working on a study with Jennifer Jennings investigating the collaborative networks within charter management organizations.

Sarah Rosenbach received a 4-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 1st year PhD student in the Psychology and Social Intervention program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania. As an undergraduate, she worked under Dr. John Trueswell, Dr. Angela Duckworth, and participated in the psychology honors program under Dr. Carmen McLean and Dr. Edna Foa. Sarah graduated summa cum laude and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Psi Chi. After graduation, she taught ninth-grade remedial algebra in New Orleans and later worked on a research project that focused on adaptive prevention interventions for risky substance use. Her current research interests include school-based interventions to improve social, emotional, and academic functioning of urban students and the factors that contribute to the efficacy of such interventions at the individual, classroom, and school level.


Two-Year Fellows

Kristin Black received a 2-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 4th year doctoral candidate and research assistant in the English Education program in the Department of Teaching and Learning at NYU Steinhardt. She was also an NYU PIRT student from 2013-2016. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, she taught developmental reading and writing at Chicago’s Truman College and high school English throughout Virginia. Her current research interests include postsecondary literacy, transitions from high school to college, reading/writing connections, and the relationship between student identity and academic reading tasks. She also serves on the board of directors for NYC education nonprofit Change for Kids. Kristin received her BA and MA in English Language and Literature from the University of Virginia. Her advisor is Sarah Beck and her mentor is James Kemple.

M. Paula Daneri received a 2-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 4th year doctoral candidate in the Developmental Psychology program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. Her current research interests include executive function development in early childhood, particularly in Latino dual language learners, and its associations with school readiness. She is currently working with Dr. Clancy Blair on several projects examining the links between language and executive function in the preschool and early elementary school years, and working with Drs. Pamela Morris and Cybele Raver on a project to support the research infrastructure behind New York City's Universal Pre-K Program. Paula received her B.A. in psychology from Duke University and spent two years doing early childhood education research at a non-profit research organization focusing on early childhood education interventions before coming to NYU. 

Chantal Hailey received a 2-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 3rd year doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at NYU GSAS. Chantal’s research focuses on the experiences of low-income children of color in their residential and educational settings and how these social contexts affect long-term outcomes and social stratification patterns. Her current research explores how an adolescent’s neighborhood occupational structure relates to their adult occupational attainment, examines the “school-to-prison pipeline” by estimating the effect of out-of-school suspensions on the likelihood of adult incarceration, and, in collaboration with the Research Alliance for New York City Schools, explores how families navigate the New York high school application process and the relationship between school choice and school safety, violence, and disorder. Before beginning her doctoral studies, Chantal was a Research Associate under Dr. Susan Popkin, Dr. Rolf Pendall, and Dr. Marla McDaniels at the Urban Institute. While at Urban, her research centered on youth and low-income housing policies and she collaborated on the Choice Neighborhood Demonstration Evaluation, Promoting Adolescent Sexual Health and Safety Community Based Participatory Research Project, the D.C. Promise Neighborhoods Initiative, and the Long Term Outcomes for Chicago Public Housing Resident Study. Ms. Hailey was a student fellow in the Urban Institute’s Academy and a Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement scholar. Chantal received her B.A. Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa in Sociology from Howard University. Dr. Jennifer Jennings is her advisor and research mentor.

Sarah Kabay received a 2-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 4th year doctoral candidate in the International Development Education program in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at NYU Steinhardt. She was also an NYU PIRT student from 2013-2016. Sarah's work focuses on primary schooling, early childhood, and how education fits into greater development and social change frameworks. Before beginning her doctoral program, Sarah lived in Uganda for five years working with Innovations for Poverty Action. Her research has a primary focus on Uganda, where she collaborates with schools, NGOs, local government and other education stakeholders to conduct her projects and disseminate findings. Sarah is also a Research Affiliate of the Global TIES for Children Research Center and a recipient of the Additional Insights International Research Fellowship. Her dissertation analyzes grade repetition, the rise of low cost private primary schools, and the costs association with attending school in the context of Uganda’s Universal Primary Education. Additional projects include qualitative analysis of parents’ attitudes towards preschool in peri-urban Accra, the psychometric analysis of Save the Children’s early childhood assessment instrument, and the cost-benefit analysis of Boston’s public prekindergarten program. She received her B.A. in Poverty and Development from Yale University. Dr. Hirokazu Yoshikawa is her adviser and research mentor.

Natalia Rojas received a 2-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 4th year doctoral candidate in the Psychology & Social Intervention program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt.

Kate Schwartz, MPP, received a 2-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 5th year doctoral candidate in the Psychology & Social Intervention program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. She was also an NYU PIRT affiliate for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 academic years. Her research centers on how systems, policy, and social interventions broadly - and educational settings specifically - can better promote youth engagement and development for those growing up in under resourced, low-income environments. Within this, she is currently examining the role of teacher ecology (teachers’ skills, abilities and knowledge; poverty, stress and health; and structural, cultural, and personal supports and barriers to teaching) on school quality and the effectiveness of educational interventions within resource deprived settings. Kate has also been working in collaboration with Publicolor, a nonprofit organization in NYC, to evaluate the impact on student learning and engagement as a result of transforming the school environment through bright, student-designed paint makeovers. Kate received her A.B. in English from Brandeis University in 2004, where she studied creative writing, women’s studies, and domestic violence and created and led a writing workshop for survivors of childhood trauma. After her undergraduate, she spent six years working in direct social services and program administration in San Francisco; Santiago, Chile; and New York City around issues of homelessness and sexual/physical abuse. In 2012, she received her Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago, Harris School. Kate’s advisor and research mentor is Elise Cappella.


Cohort of 2015-2016


Four-Year Fellows

Travis Cramer is a 2nd year student in the Psychology and Social Intervention program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. He graduated from Dartmouth College magna cum laude with a degree in Anthropology. After graduating, he taught 4th and 5th grade math at a charter school in Trenton, New Jersey. Before beginning his doctoral studies, Travis worked on research projects involving multilevel kindergarten preparation programs and mindfulness interventions for teachers and students. He aims to investigate how school- and community-based programs can be delivered effectively at scale. In particular, he is interested in multilevel interventions focusing on social-emotional development and early childhood education. Through his work, Travis hopes to advance methods promoting the scholastic and social-emotional development of all children, particularly those in underserved communities. His advisor and mentor is Pamela Morris.

Bryant Hopkins is a 2nd year student in the NYU Wagner School. Bryant is a Graduate Assistant at the Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) where he is currently exploring the effects of recent policy reforms for special education students in New York City public schools. He graduated as an Honors Scholar with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He majored in mathematics and received minors in physics, economics, music, and Spanish. He holds a Master of Arts degree from Duke University with a major in economics. Bryant was presented with the Duke Economics Department Leadership Award at the May 2015 graduation ceremony. At Duke, Bryant was a research assistant in the Economics Department and served as principal cellist of the Duke Symphony Orchestra during his tenure in Durham. For the past several summers, he worked for Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski as a graduate fellow and staff assistant in both her Washington, D.C. and Fairbanks, Alaska offices. His adviser and research mentor is Leanna Stiefel.

E. Parham Horn is a 2nd year student in the Counseling Psychology program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. She is interested in research related to child development in the context of poverty, teacher-child and parent-child relationships and interactions, and interventions focused on improving social and academic outcomes for low-income children. Prior to attending NYU, she worked as a research assistant at MDRC, a non-profit social policy research organization, helping to implement and evaluate two large-scale randomized controlled trials for low-income preschool children. She was also a postbaccalaureate research fellow at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development where she studied parent-child interactions from infancy to young adulthood. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Georgetown University, graduating magna cum laude. Her mentor is Sandee McClowry.


Two-Year Fellows

Rachel McKinnon is a 6th year doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. She was also an NYU PIRT affiliate for the 2014-2015 academic year. Her research interests focus on understanding the development of children’s self-regulation and executive functions as school readiness skills, particularly among children from low-income families. She is also interested in the extent to which children’s social relationships with parents, teachers, and peers are interrelated with the development of self-regulation. Under the guidance of her advisor, Clancy Blair, Rachel is currently examining the extent to which children’s individual self-regulations abilities are related to the quality of relationships they form with their teachers across primary school. Rachel received her B.S. in Family Studies and Human Development from Arizona State University and her M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College.

Jason Rarick is a 5th year doctoral student in the Psychology & Social Intervention program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. He was also an NYU PIRT affiliate for the 2014-2015 academic year. Broadly, Jason's research focuses on understanding how youths’ experiences of social and economic inequality influence their well-being and educational outcomes. Much of his research is driven by the following questions. First, how do rising disparities in school settings affect students' thoughts and feelings about their own education? Second, how do the psychosocial factors important for educational success (e.g. social comparison, academic identity, and attributions) help explain the relationship between inequality and education? Finally, how can a better understanding of these psychological factors be leveraged to generate useable knowledge for informing the interventions, policies, and practices targeting more equitable educational opportunities and outcomes? Originally from Los Angeles, California, Jason spent three years working with two non-profits, School on Wheels and the Los Angeles Youth Network, providing educational resources to homeless youth. He later received his masters in educational psychology at the University of Texas at Austin before coming to New York. Jason’s advisor and research mentor is Dr. Erin Godfrey