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Ramy Abbady is a doctoral student in the Sociology of Education program. They were awarded a three-year fellowship in 2021. Ramy's research interests center on how student loans and tuition policies connect to wealth inequality, with a specific focus on the racial wealth gap. Prior to starting their PhD, Ramy received a B.A. in educational studies from Vassar College and M.A. in higher education and student affairs from the University of San Francisco. Ramy worked in higher education for four years in the areas of residential life, academic advising, and STEM administration. 

Berta Bartoli is a doctoral student at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She received a four-year IES-PIRT fellowship in 2021. She is interested in studying educational policies; how they can be gamed by students, parents, and even educators; and how policy gaming can affect student outcomes, like learning and motivation, in the short- and long-term. Her interests are inspired by her experiences growing up in Venezuela and her research endeavors studying the Ghanaian education system. Prior to joining the program, she worked as a research assistant for professors Sharon Wolf and Michael Nakkula on projects related to parental engagement in Ghana and curricular reform in Nicaragua, and a data analyst at Steppingstone Scholars in Philadelphia. She has a B.A. in Economics and International Affairs from Northeastern University and an M.S.Ed. in Statistics, Measurement, and Assessment from the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education. 

Sharmistha Chakrabarti is a doctoral student in the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and received a 4-year IES-PIRT fellowship in 2023. She completed an M.A. in Economics from New York University in 2023 and a B.A. in Economics from UC San Diego in 2019. Her research interests involve inequality in education in regards to gender and racial minorities, LGBTQ+ populations, and low-income students.

Blair Cox (she/her) is a fourth year PhD student in the Psychology and Social Intervention program in Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. She is interested in the intersection between racial equity and public education. Her research explores school-based interventions aimed to reduce racial disparities in education, school racial climate, and the way white students learn about race. Blair is committed to community engaged, strengths-based research exploring setting-level interventions in the pursuit of antiracism. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Gettysburg College in 2018.

Sohini Das is a doctoral student and IES-PIRT fellow in the Psychology and Social Intervention program. She sees research as a tool to support the development and sustainability of critically caring, anti-racist, anti-oppressive educational spaces with and for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and API youth. Her research focuses on 1. exploring how youth of color negotiate, and particularly resist, intersectional stereotypes within their families, peers, schools, and beyond and 2. Developing, evaluating, and refining sustainable anti-racist, anti-oppressive change in schools by employing abolitionist pedagogy, healing justice, and transformative justice in partnership with youth, families, community organizers, and educators. 

Shana DeVlieger (she/her) is a PhD student in the department of Teaching and Learning. Her research explores white women early childhood educators’ identity development and race-related (un)learning. These interests are informed by her experiences as a white woman and former public school teacher. As an IES-PIRT fellow, she seeks to contribute to Critical Whiteness Studies and teacher education through  humanizing, critical mixed-methods and qualitative research. She is particularly interested in methods that lend themselves to causal inquiry. Shana currently works on various research projects relating to teacher mental health and wellness through a racial justice lens at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s Center for Early Childhood Health and Development. Prior to joining NYU, she was an instructor and PhD student in Applied Developmental Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. She earned her EdM in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and her MAT in Urban Education from the University of Southern California.

Emily Franchett is a doctoral student in the Psychology and Social Intervention program at NYU Steinhardt. She is interested in designing and evaluating interventions, including multigenerational approaches, to promote early childhood development and reduce inequities in human development across the life course. Prior to joining NYU, Emily worked in community-based health, education, and youth development programming with Peace Corps Albania and supported evaluations of early childhood and youth development programs in Rwanda and Pakistan. She received her BA in Political Science from the University of Michigan and SM in Global Health and Population Studies from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. 

Silvana Freire is a first-year doctoral student at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She received a four-year IES-PIRT fellowship in 2022. Silvana is interested in studying early childhood development and family engagement with a special focus on promoting quality interactions among Latinx and immigrant communities. Before joining the Psychology and Social Intervention (PSI) program, Silvana worked as an early childhood and education consultant at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington D.C. and as a research analyst at the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research. She holds a B.A. in psychology from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru and an M.A. in international education policy analysis from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education.

Lissete Gimenez is a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program. She received a B.A. and M.A. in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College. Her previous research examined language access in bilinguals utilizing ERP. Her current research interests include identifying how individual and societal factors affect the cognitive and linguistic functioning of bilinguals.

Yitong Hu is a doctoral student in the Higher Education Program. She received a two-year IES-PIRT Fellowship in 2023. Her research focuses on alternative academic pathways in higher education, aiming to facilitate student access and success in college and post-graduation, and of providing cost-effective higher education choices that meet the challenges posed by a technology-driven labor market. She actively contributes to projects on skill development, online and certificate education, community colleges, student loans, workforce development, and return to education. Prior to joining this program, she has research assistant experience in Harvard Graduate School of Education and Peking University GSE (China). Passionate about policy practices, Yitong has worked across diverse educational sectors within a variety of organizations, including international entities like the World Bank and the United Nations Secretariat, international nonprofit such as Save the Children, governmental think tank, and various local NGOs. She received her Ed.M. in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and her BA in German from Tongji University (China). 

Haja Kamara is a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She received a four-year IES-PIRT fellowship in 2023. Haja is interested in conducting interdisciplinary, community-based research that addresses mental health disparities among youth of color, particularly those who have experienced trauma. Further, Haja aims to study and develop empowering, school-based mental health interventions for marginalized students. Haja received her BS in Psychology from Yale and her MPH with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Yale School of Public Health.  

Jo Al Khafaji-King is an IES-PIRT fellow and a third-year doctoral student at New York University's Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service studying public policy analysis. Broadly, they study K-12 education policy in the U.S., with an emphasis on how exclusionary discipline policies may impact equitable outcomes for sexual, gender, and racial minorities in schools. They are framed by economics of education and sociology literatures and use rigorous quasi-experimental methods to understand causal relationships between policy and student outcomes. Currently, their research focuses on inequities in school discipline practices, how broader environmental contexts impact exclusionary discipline, as well as unintended consequences of school discipline reform. They hold an MA in Economics from Miami University of Ohio and BAs in Economics and Spanish from Western Washington University.

Kristy Lai (she/her) is a first-year doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program. In graduate school, she aims to explore how sociocultural variables and early life experiences influence development and learning from birth through early childhood across domains (social, emotional, language, cognition), especially among dual language learners. She is particularly interested in developing and validating culturally sensitive methodologies that examine the dynamics of processes involved in children’s learning and development. Kristy received her B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Education from UC Berkeley. Prior to attending NYU, she worked as a researcher at WestEd, an education non-profit, where she supported several local and state projects in California on improving programs and policies for children, youth, and their families.

Ben Le (he/him/his) is a doctoral student in the Sociology of Education program. He was awarded a four-year fellowship in 2021. Ben's research interests center on the intersection of race/ethnicity and language in public schools in the United States. With a desire to also look into multilingual programs in schools from a raciolinguistic lens, Ben is interested in how schools teach and treat different languages, and how students' abilities and aptitude are perceived differently based on their race/ethnicity and the languages they speak, including variations within the language. Before starting his PhD program, Ben received a B.A. in Sociology and Hispanic Studies at Pepperdine University. Then, he received a Fulbright Fellowship as a teaching assistant in Madrid, Spain, where he primarily taught English at a school for elementary, middle, and high school students.

Lauren Lewallen is a first-year doctoral student in the Higher Education PhD program at NYU Steinhardt. She received a four-year IES-PIRT fellowship in 2023. Her research interests focus on student access and success regarding structures and policy in place to best support holistic educational equity. Lauren recently graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in Spring 2023 where she received her M.A. in Higher Education, Administration with a concentration in Management and Organizations. Prior to graduate school, Lauren received her B.S.Ed. from Central Michigan University in K-8 Education in 2020, where she went on to teach Grade 8, U.S. History before transitioning to the field and studies of higher education. In higher education, Lauren has worked in the following functional areas: Fraternity and Sorority Life, Residential Life, curriculum development, and student organization advising. At the University of Michigan, Lauren also worked as a Graduate Student Instructor for two years for the Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (QMSS) program. Most recently, Lauren worked at Stanford University for Summer 2023 in a residential life role as a House Director (HD) for Summer Session, working with students who are visiting for the summer quarter from 50+ countries. 

Emily Myers is a first-year doctoral student in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program in the Department of Administration, Leadership, & Technology. She received a four-year IES-PIRT Fellowship in 2022. Emily is interested in studying the experience of elementary-aged students in urban public schools, specifically as it relates to their development of positive racial identities and a critical historical consciousness. In her work, she will examine both school- and district-level policies and will measure and evaluate their long-term impact on student outcomes. Emily’s interests are inspired by her years of experience working in New York City and Philadelphia public schools in various capacities, including teacher, principal, and district-level consultant. Emily received her B.A. in History and German from the University of Rochester, her M.S. in Teaching from Fordham University, and her K-12 Principal Certification from the Relay Graduate School of Education. She most recently lived in Germany, where she observed and taught in local schools and served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Heidelberg.

Michele Ocana (they/them/elle) is a doctoral student in the Cognition and Perception program at the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science. Their research interests cut across cognitive, developmental, and educational psychology. They are particularly interested in the cognitive and social mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of academic stereotypes and how they may potentially shape Latinx children's academic identities, pursuits, and success. They aim to (1) explore the mechanisms driving children's social stereotypes and STEM identity development and (2) develop evidenced-based interventions that have lasting and positive impacts on underrepresented, underserved communities.

Christine Park is a doctoral student and IES-PIRT fellow in the Psychology and Social Intervention program at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She is interested in 1) studying social emotional development across diverse cultures/contexts and 2)  developing school-based interventions that sustain diverse cultural identities and facilitate intercultural relationships. Prior to joining the program, Christine worked as a research coordinator for Stephanie Jones on projects related to improving the implementation and accessibility of social emotional learning programs in US-based elementary schools. She received a B.A. in Psychology from Boston College, and an M.Ed. in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Aashna Poddar is a second-year doctoral student in the Psychology Ph.D. program at the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science. She received a four-year Institute for Education Sciences-funded Interdisciplinary Predoctoral Research Training fellowship in 2022. Aashna is interested in studying how stereotypes and status differences (for example, those based on race and gender) shape children’s academic and career interests, especially in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics [STEM] fields. She hopes her research can inform interventions that support the participation of women and people of color in STEM. Before joining NYU, Aashna worked at Harvard University as a Research Associate. In her work, she examined how teachers influence their students' social and emotional development. Her work there sparked her current interest in understanding how children’s environments, and the messages they receive from adults, can shape their future interests. Aashna has earned a B.A. in Marketing and Psychology from Singapore Management University, and an M.Ed in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Abby Richburg (she/they) is a doctoral student in the Psychology and Social Intervention program. They received a four-year IES-PIRT fellowship in 2023. Abby is interested in evaluating interventions that assist youth in navigating and resisting interlocking structures of oppression within their school contexts, particularly for LGBTQ+ students in United States public schools. Prior to joining the program, Abby received her MA in psychology from NYU GSAS and BA in psychology and cognitive science from the University of Michigan.

Lindsay Romano is a doctoral student in the Teaching and Learning program, where she studies the intersecting issues of dis/ability, race, and educational inequity using mindfulness- and compassion-based practices as tools for social justice. She is particularly interested in the link between the cultivation of cognitive and emotional capacities (e.g. attention regulation, mindfulness, compassion) and positive social change in educational settings (e.g. changes in beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that address issues such as bias, dis/ability and racial injustice). Lindsay is a former high school Special Education teacher, instructional coach, curriculum writer, and professional development facilitator.

Jenna Shaw is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at NYU GSAS. Her research interests are in environmental sociology and how human and environment interactions are shaped by existing social and power structures. Having received her B.A. in the School of Public and International Affairs from Princeton University in 2020, she is also interested in how research surrounding environmental justice issues can inform policy on and public perception of these issues.


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