IES-PIRT Fellows Profiles

Cohort of 2018-2019

Two-Year Fellows

Spenser Gwozdzik is a 1st year doctoral student at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. He received a two-year IES-PIRT fellowship in 2018. He is interested in studying urban education policy and how its interaction with other public policy areas impacts issues of inequality. He has an AB in Public Policy from Duke University and an AM in Urban Education policy from Brown University. Prior to attending NYU, he has spent the last three years working as a research associate with the Tennessee State Board of Education, where he has primarily focused on teacher preparation and related issues.

Andrew Weaver is a 1st year doctoral student in the Literacy Education program in the Department of Teaching & Learning at NYU Steinhardt. He received a two-year IES-PIRT fellowship in 2018. He is interested in the factors affecting literacy development for multilingual students and the ways that schools can support the social development of students. Andrew received a B.S. in Psychology from Santa Clara University and a M.Ed. from Southern Methodist University. He has 3 years of experience working in the Dallas Independent School District, including 2 years as a 6th grade ELAR teacher. 

Cohort of 2017-2018

Four-Year Fellows

Tim Carroll is a 2nd year doctoral student in the Higher Education program in the Department of Administration, Leadership, and Technology at NYU Steinhardt. He received a 4-year IES-PIRT fellowship in 2017. His interests center on college access and equity, including the educational pathways of English learners and students from immigrant and refugee families. Before coming to NYU, he worked as a college access adviser with College Possible Minnesota, a need-based financial aid administrator at Williams College, and a data curator at the Inter-university Consortium for Political & Social Research (ICPSR). He has a BA in American Studies from Carleton College and an MA in Higher Education from the University of Michigan. His adviser is Stella Flores.

Chelsea Daniels is a 2nd year doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at NYU GSAS. She received a 4-year IES-PIRT fellowship in 2017. Her research interests lie broadly at the intersection of education, criminal justice and technology. Chelsea received a BA in Visual Art from Oberlin College with minors in Mathematics and African American Studies. She worked in the music industry as a talent buyer and event producer before completing a MS in Applied Statistics for Social Science Research at NYU Steinhardt. Her prior research has focused on the development of technology tools for implementing alternative to incarceration programs for young adults, and contextual mobility within the framework of school choice initiatives. 

Zachary McDermott is a 2nd year doctoral student at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. He received a 4-year IES-PIRT fellowship in 2017. Zac has been working on research projects with Joseph Cimpian (NYU Steinhardt) on topics including English learner classification and the effect of STEM Screened high school programs in NYC as well as work with Leanna Stiefel (NYU Wagner/Steinhardt) on special education. His current research interests focus on using quantitative methodology in education policy research, with an aim to understand inequity for disadvantaged populations, especially LGBTQ and racial/ethnic minorities. Zac was the former Sr. Associate of Research and Data Management at the Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) where the breadth of his work there aimed to understanding how in and out of school factors influence academic performance, attendance, meal participation, and student health— work with Amy Schwartz (Syracuse-Maxwell), Meryle Weinstein (NYU Steinhardt), and Brian Elbel (NYU Wagner/Langone). He earned his B.A. in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts—Amherst in 2013 and his M.A. in Applied Quantitative Research from NYU the following year.

Robin Neuhaus is a 2nd year doctoral student studying Early Childhood and Childhood Education in the Department of Teaching & Learning at NYU Steinhardt. She received a 4-year IES-PIRT fellowship in 2017. Broadly, her research interests include teacher and parent-child relationships and child anxiety disorders in early childhood. She is currently working on the INSIGHTS middle school follow-up study examining the impacts of a social emotional intervention implemented in kindergarten and first grade. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in Psychological and Brain Sciences and a minor in Children's Studies. Prior to NYU, she worked as an English teacher in Madrid in a preschool and primary school. Dr. Erin O'Connor is her advisor and research mentor.

Olga Pagan is a 2nd year doctoral student in the Psychology and Social Intervention program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. She received a 4-year IES-PIRT fellowship in 2017. She is interested in studying the role that ethnic and racial identity in younger children play in their experiences of race-based trauma, and how interventions can mitigate the possible negative effects of such trauma. Previously, Olga graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Psychology and from Stanford University with an M.A. in Elementary Education with a certificate in Bilingual Education. After earning her teaching credentials, Olga was a teacher and instructional coach in Denver for 5 years. 

Jacob Schatz is a 2nd year doctoral student in the Development Psychology program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. He received a 4-year IES-PIRT fellowship in 2017. Jacob received a BA in Psychology from Princeton University in 2015, where he studied how and what preschool-age children learn from various fictional narratives. Jacob worked for two years as a lab coordinator with Dr. Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek at the Temple University Infant and Child Lab, investigating the role of playful learning in a vocabulary intervention in Head Start preschools. At NYU, Jacob works with Dr. Cathie Tamis-LeMonda, pursuing his interests in adult-child contingent interactions, language development, and playful learning.

Two-Year Fellows

Kat Adams is a 5th year doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. She received a 2-year IES-PIRT fellowship in 2017. She is interested in how experience shapes children’s real-time self-regulation and learning processes, particularly in the context of social and environmental risk. A key aim of her research is to create and collaborate on innovative uses of technology and statistical methods for data collection, analysis, and intervention. Kat graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in linguistics from UCLA in 2010. She joined NYU after four years as a lab manager and research coordinator at Stanford University.

Sophia Hwang is a 5th year doctoral student in the Psychology and Social Intervention Program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. She received a 3-year NYU PIRT fellowship in 2014 and a 2-year IES-PIRT fellowship in 2017. Currently she is working with a local nonprofit organization to study how cooperative learning strategies and classroom quality can improve student outcomes in afterschool settings. More broadly Sophia’s research interests lie at the intersection of education and mental health. Sophia aims to conduct policy-relevant research that improves academic and social-emotional outcomes for urban students. Sophia earned her B.A. in Human Biology with a concentration in the Mental and Public Health of Underserved Communities from Stanford University and then pursued a Masters in Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, Sophia taught science at a comprehensive, public high school in South Philadelphia. She currently works with Drs. Elise Cappella and Michael Kieffer.

Cohort of 2016-2017

Four-Year Fellows

Fabian Barch received a 4-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 3rd year PhD student in the Sociology of Education program in the Department of Applied Statistics, Social Science, and Humanities 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 3rd year PhD student at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She is a Graduate Assistant at the Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) where she is exploring the effects of student and neighborhood characteristics in shaping the special populations, in particular students with a disabilities, at the national and New York City-level. 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 adviser and research mentor is Leanna Stiefel.

Jill Gandhi received a 4-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 3rd year PhD student in the Developmental Psychology program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. Jill primarily works with Dr. Cybele Raver as part of the Neuroscience and Education Lab. She is broadly interested in examining home- and school-based inputs on early childhood educational development, particularly to inform interventions with low-income families. Prior to attending NYU, Jill worked at the University of Chicago’s Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab, where she coordinated parenting interventions in Head Start centers. Additionally, Jill taught Algebra at a public school in Jackson, Mississippi. She received her B.A. in Plan II Honors and Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. 

Nick Mark received a 4-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 3rd year PhD student in Sociology at NYU GSAS. He is interested in education, inequality, stratification, social networks, 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 with Jennifer Jennings and Sean Corcoran to examine the effect of school choice on student mobility, the role of social networks in school choice, and the relationship between data use and teacher collaborative networks. organizations.

Sarah Rosenbach received a 4-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 3rd year PhD student in the Psychology and Social Intervention program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. Her current research interests include health and academic disparities faced by LGBTQ adolescents and school-based policies and programs focused on sexual orientation and gender identity. She has also contributed to measurement development work for the Ministry of Education of Colombia. In addition to her academic pursuits, Sarah sits on the volunteer board of the New York City chapter of GLSEN, a national nonprofit that works to ensure safe schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania. Her primary mentor is Dr. Hiro Yoshikawa.

Two-Year Fellows

Kristin Black received a 2-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 6th 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 fellow 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 adviser is Sarah Beck and her mentor is James Kemple.

Sarah Kabay received a 2-year fellowship in 2016 and is a 6th year doctoral candidate in the International Development Education program in the Department of Applied Statistics, Social Science, and Humanities 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.

Cohort of 2015-2016

Four-Year Fellows

Travis Cramer received a 4-year fellowship in 2015 and is currently a 4th year student in the Psychology and Social Intervention program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. His research focuses on teacher workforce development, children’s social-emotional development, and program implementation and quality improvement. Travis works with Pamela Morris and Elise Cappella on multiple research projects aimed to support workforce development and preschool quality within New York City’s universal preschool expansion. Travis also works closely with a large nonprofit service provider to identify how children's and families’ needs for services vary across communities in New York City. Travis graduated from Dartmouth College magna cum laude with a degree in Anthropology. Before beginning his doctoral studies, Travis taught elementary school and worked as a research assistant on projects studying kindergarten readiness and mindfulness interventions.

Bryant Hopkins received a 4-year fellowship in 2015 and is a 4th year student in the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. 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 received a 4-year fellowship in 2015 and is a 4th year student in the Counseling Psychology program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt, studying under the mentorship of Dr. Sandee McClowry. She is currently working on the middle school follow-up study of INSIGHTS, a temperament-based intervention that was delivered to parents, teachers, and children when the children were in kindergarten and first grade. 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. In her clinical work, she is currently training in behavioral parent training strategies for parents of children with disruptive behavior disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and autism spectrum disorder. Prior to attending NYU, she worked as a research assistant at MDRC, a non­profit social policy research organization, helping to implement and evaluate two large ­scale randomized controlled trials for low­ income preschool children. She was also a post-baccalaureate 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.


Alumni