MA in Education and Social Policy

Alumni Profiles

Graduates of the EDSP program have secured fantastic jobs in various education policy organizations.  Current alumni are now working at MDRC, the Center on School Effectiveness and Inequality at MIT, Teach for America, the Research and Policy Support Group at the NYC Department of Education, and Graduate NYC!, a research foundation of CUNY.

Read more about some of our alumni:

Tamara Minott, MA '16
Tamara Minott After almost a decade in academic advising and selective admissions, Tamara Minott is currently a full-time PhD student in the Higher and Postsecondary Education program at NYU. She completed the MA in Education and Social Policy program to learn more about policies affecting students in the K-16 pipeline. She plans to use her experience in academic advising and admissions to influence her research interests which include increasing access to higher education for marginalized groups.
  • PhD Student, Higher and Postsecondary Education

    How have the skills you learned in the EDSP program helped you in your current role?

    The Education and Social Policy program encouraged me to consider the experience and trajectories of students in the K-16 system from a policy perspective. As we are moving towards being a data-reliant society, having a strong quantitative skill base is essential for being able to interpret and articulate information to formulate just policies. This program required those skills be honed and applied.

    What have you been doing since you left the program?

    Since completing the EDSP program I have enrolled full-time as a Steinhardt Fellow in the Higher & Postsecondary Education Ph.D. program. I am currently in my first year with plans to graduate in 2021. I hope to become a faculty member whose research focuses on improving college success rates of marginalized groups and influences effective policy reform.

    Do you have any thoughts you'd like to share with prospective students?

    I would encourage prospective students to consider the benefits of the curriculum of the EDSP program. The statistical requirements are essential to any potential analyst or policy work and make a solid base for an Ed.D. or Ph.D. program.

Matthew Harrington, MA '13
Matthew Harrington Matthew Harrington is the Director of Operations at the New American Academy Charter School in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Director of Operations,The New American Academy Charter School

    What is your proudest accomplishment in your current role?

    I have two. My department has not had staff turnover in 5 years (5 employees) and we have been able to spend our public dollars wisely to not only pay teachers/staff like professionals but also to generate a 1.3 mil surplus in the first 4 years of operations.

    What was the focus of your Capstone project?

    The Effects of Teacher Salary on Retention.

    What was the most important thing you learned in the EDSP program?

    The two things that I learned at EDSP that I found myself referring to most often are around the value of statistics/data in grounding arguments and also how often statistics are misused or misunderstood to make arguments/decisions. My job in helping start this school involved a ton of decisions (both critical and trivial) and it was helpful being able to either toss out arguments that were grounded on faulty use of data and also make better decisions using available data. I find myself saying "correlation does not equal" causation at least once a week at work.

Lianna Wright, MA '12
Lianna Wright Lianna Wright is the Executive Directory of Enrollment Research and Policy within the Office of Student Enrollment at the NYC DOE. Her team uses research and analysis to support all DOE admissions processes (including 3-K, pre-K, kindergarten, Gifted & Talented, middle school, and high school) and collaborates across the NYCDOE on enrollment-related research projects. This includes the DOE's recent focus on school diversity, which is of particular interest to Lianna and her team. Lianna holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Colorado College, and decided to come to NYU after working in San Francisco for a few years -- first teaching pre-school, and then managing a school volunteer program. She has been working at the DOE since graduating from NYU in 2012.
  • Executive Director, Enrollment Research and Policy-NYC Department of Education

    What did you do before starting the EDSP program?

    Before EDSP I worked at an education non-profit in San Francisco. I managed the organization's School Volunteer program, which recruited, trained, and placed thousands of volunteers in schools each year. Before that, I taught pre-school, and worked at an elementary school after school program.

    What do you like best about your current organization?

    My favorite thing about working at the DOE is getting the opportunity to meet students and families, and hear about their experiences as they navigate our system. Though I work on a quantitative team that spends most of its time working on the backend of the enrollment process, I still regularly get to visit schools, give family-facing presentations on how admissions works, and listen to students talk about the types of diversity they'd like to see in their schools. This enables us to better understand different perspectives, and take that into consideration in all of our work.

    What is one thing you wish you knew when you started the program?

    I wish I knew that, in actuality, most statistical analysis used in practical settings is less complex that what you learn in the program. In my current job, I spend far more time cleaning data than running regressions or T-tests. We need to be able to explain the research and analysis we're doing to non-savvy audiences, and so we try to pull out the most salient points and share them in a clear and understandable way.

Sophie Nguyen, MA '16
Sophie Nguyen Uyen (Sophie) Nguyen, M.A., is a Research Associate at the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University. Sophie provides research support across NCCP, using her experience in collecting and analyzing data, conducting research reviews, and coordinating projects to support several projects in the Early Childhood unit, along with the Health and Mental Health unit. She also manages ongoing updates to the center's 50-state Two-Generation Early Childhood Policy Profiles. Areas of expertise include: Early childhood mental health, Family engagement in early care and education, Two-generation policies for families in deep poverty, Policies that support high quality early care and education.
  • Research Associate,National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University

    What projects are you currently working on?

    I’m working on 4 main projects related to early childhood education and early childhood mental health. One is a collaborative effort with Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning to test the usefulness of two new tools that we designed to help child care programs strengthen family engagement practices. The second project is an online survey of Virginia’ early care and education (ECE) teachers and providers. We created the survey to understand ECE teachers’ and providers’ experiences related to young children with challenging behavior. The survey results will be presented to the Early Childhood Mental Health Virginia Advisory Board and help them make recommendations to state leaders about ways to support children’s social-emotional well-being and development. The third project is a 50-state survey that gathered information from state administrators about Medicaid coverage of early childhood mental health services (ECMH). Our report will examine trends in ECMH services across the states and discuss options for enhancing the services. Last, I’m managing ongoing updates to one of the center’s online data tools called “Early Childhood Two-Generation State Policy Profiles.” The profiles provide a two-generation view of current policies affecting children birth to age 8, nationally and state-by-state, in the areas of early care and education, health, and parenting/family economic supports.
    My work includes providing research support and data analyses for various projects around ECE and ECMH. We also collaborate with state organizations and advocacy groups to introduce ECE and ECMH policies that serve children and their families, especially those living below the poverty line.

    What made you choose the EDSP program?

    At the time, I was looking for a program in education policy evaluation with a strong focus on data analysis. I was also interested in learning more about different education policies in the US and looking at them from both economics and sociology lenses. The EDSP program provided all of that, so it wasn’t a very difficult choice for me.

    How did the EDSP program help shape your career path?

    The program has helped shaped my career path in many ways. All the statistics and research courses helped strengthen my data analysis and research skills. Internship listings, alumni panels, etc. were also invaluable and provided necessary preparation for my current job. But most importantly, throughout the program, I was able to think more critically about education issues, and my interest in early childhood development evolved. Early childhood development is now the field I am working in; I hope to pursue further training in the near future so that I can become more of a content expert in early childhood. I’m a die-hard optimist that every child will be able to flourish if given resources and support s/he needs in early years of life. I’m not advocating for neglecting other age groups, but I firmly believe that investing in early childhood is an economical investment and an important solution for a more sustainable future for the US and other countries.

EDSP Graduating class of 2017

Education and Social Policy Capstone Celebration 2017