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Education Policy
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Education Policy

In the Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis

Alumni & Students > Current Students

Current Students

The Education Policy program prepares students for their careers as policy analysts, policy advocates, and education researchers. As you read through our website and evaluate if this program is a good match for you, consider the perspectives of our current students and alumni.

Ph.D. in Education Policy/LPP


Ed.D. in Educational Leadership Studies

Joe Daschbach

Ed.D. candidate in Educational Leadership Studies

Previous Colleges:
B.S. Engineering Science, Trinity University

Specialization: Decentralization, charter schools, and school finance in New Orleans

Kathleen Hayes

Ed.D. candidate, Educational Leadership Studies
Previous colleges:
B.A. Quincy University, 1989
M.S. journalism, Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, 1993
M.Ed., secondary education, University of Illinois-Chicago, 2001

A former journalist and high school English teacher from Chicago, Kathleen matriculated into the Educational Leadership Studies program as an Ed.D. student in Fall 2005. While living in New York, she was a graduate assistant for The Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media and The Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished NYC Principals. After completing her doctoral coursework in Fall 2007, she moved back to Chicago.

Since returning to The Windy City, she has worked for Chicago Public Schools on the implementation team for a recent curricular and instructional reform, as a policy associate for an education consulting firm’s teacher quality team, and as a research assistant at the Consortium on Chicago School Research. Kathleen is currently the inaugural director of research and evaluation for Urban Teacher Residency United (UTRU) in Chicago. She collaborates with staff and leaders throughout UTRU and across its network of more than 20 programs to develop and advance a research agenda that will inform UTRU residency programs, the organization itself, teacher preparation programs, and the teacher preparation research field on the effectiveness of the teacher residency model for preparing effective teachers. She is in the final stages of her dissertation, which focuses on teacher sensemaking about a Chicago high school curricular and instructional reform. Her anticipated graduation date is Fall 2015.



M.A. in Education Policy

Terry Allen

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: High School to College Transition


Previous Colleges:
B.A. in Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley, CA

Terry Allen
is a California native and holds a BA in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley. He currently interns for the U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid. Most recently, he worked for The Greenlining Institute on their Communications Team, and interned at The White House. Terry is passionate about college access and success, financial aid, digital engagement/social media, and policies that aim to mediate educational inequality. 

Jay Bakhru

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: K-12 Education Policy


Previous Colleges:
B.A. in History from Brown University, Providence RI
M.B.A. in Finance and Marketing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Jay Bakhru is Director of Strategic Marketing at Educational Testing Service (ETS). In his current role he focuses on the intersection of business strategy, marketing, and public policy in the education industry. Prior to ETS, he worked in a variety of strategy and marketing roles: founder and CEO of Language Tailor - an education technology start-up, Senior Vice President of marketing in Citigroup’s Global Consumer Division, and management consultant in Deloitte's corporate strategy practice. Jay currently serves as the chair of the Wharton Education Network (WhEN). Jay has a BA from Brown University, an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and is pursuing an MA in Education Policy from Teachers College at Columbia University.

Rezwana Aliya Chisti

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: Law and Higher Education Policy


Previous Colleges:
B.S. in Nutrition Science, University of California, Davis, CA  

Rezwana was born and raised in San Francisco, California. She earned her Bachelors of Science from University of California Davis in Nutrition Science, where she focused on the complex relationship between health and policy. After graduating, she interned with San Francisco General Hospital’s public health and nutrition departments as well as the California Department of Education.

Rezwana has also been dedicated to Aim High, a summer school program for economically disadvantaged urban students, for the past seven years. After graduating from Aim High as a student, Rezwana continued to volunteer, intern, and research with the program in hopes of providing other urban students with the same quality learning experience she received. In addition to becoming a lead teacher for seventh grade Humanities at Aim High, Rezwana is proud of her accomplishment of creating a healthy cooking activity called T.H.U.G. kitchen (The Healthy Ultimate Grub) where she taught urban students the importance of nutrition and how to create nutritious meals.

Her experience from Aim High along with working in San Francisco Unified School District sparked her interest in how policy influences quality of learning experiences for students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. At Teachers College, Rezwana hopes to deepen her understanding of nutrition and quality of learning experiences for low-income students. She also hopes to explore education policies to advocate for students in postsecondary institutions. Rezwana looks forward to being a part of the TC community and is excited to bring the Bay Area to New York.  

Kristin Damo

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: K-12 Education Policy


Previous Colleges:
B.A. in English, Carleton College, Northfield, MN
Ed.M. in Secondary English, CUNY Lehman College, Bronx, NY

Kristin Damo has served as an educator for eight years.  She has worked for the New York City Department of Education, KIPP DC, and Green Dot Public Schools.  She has a B.A. in English from Carleton College and a M.Ed. in Secondary English Education from Lehman College.  She completed the Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellowship in which she worked with District of Columbia Public Schools to improve teaching and working conditions for teachers. During her time in the classroom, she became particularly interested in the impact of school choice on public education, the root causes of failure in urban education reform, and educational equity. 

Alisa France

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: Law and Education Policy


Previous Colleges:
B.A. in Political Science, Howard University, Washington, DC

Alisa has recently interned with the National Education Association in their Education Policy & Practice and Priority Schools Campaign departments. The research and work Alisa participated in solidified her interest in family & community engagement policies in education, particularly in minority and low-income communities.  

She received her B.A. in Political Science from Howard University in Washington, DC, graduating magna cum laude in May of 2013. During her tenure at Howard, she was extremely involved in her community, mentoring young girls from the ages of 8-18. That experience showed her the importance of community involvement in the education of inner city youth. Alisa has always been interested in educational equity and wants to give students like her the same support and guidance she was afforded.  

Courtney Gilmore

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: K-12 Education Policy


Previous Colleges:
B.A.Sociology and Criminology and Law, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Courtney is a native of Gainesville, Florida in which she also attended the University of Florida. After beginning her educational blog in August 2013 entitled The MECCA, she continued to engage herself in the educational sector both at the national and local levels, in which she followed and reported on the national superintendent search of the Alachua County School District. While interning with the Public Defender’s office of the 8th Judicial Circuit in Gainesville, Florida, she noticed the connections between imprisonment and education. Thus, Courtney became interested in the inequities in both our communities and schools, and how we may find and create ways to alleviate the mass incarceration issue through creating more educational opportunities for our youth and their families. All in all, her topical interests include the following: educational policy, school to prison pipeline, educational equity, and mass incarceration.

Matthew Gonzales

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: Law and Education Policy


Previous Colleges: B.A. in Urban Learning, California State University, Los Angeles, CA
Special Education Teaching Credential, California State University, Los Angeles

Matthew is a former special education middle school teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He received his B.A. in Urban Education along with a California Special Education Teacher Credential from California State University, Los Angeles in June of 2013. 

He graduated magna cum laude and held many leadership positions within the College of Education and campus-wide. In 2012, he served as the Legislative Affairs Representative-at-Large for the Associated Students, Incorporated.  In this role, he was the Chief Lobbyist for CSULA, and directed the legislative, political, and advocacy work done on behalf of his campus. Matthew is a product of the public education system. He is committed to social justice through public education and is determined to improve the lives of teachers as well as students in urban schools.

Samantha Grecco

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: Law and Education


Previous Colleges:
B.A. in Psychology, Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, NY

Samantha graduated from Barnard in 2012 with a B.A. in Psychology concentrating in Early Childhood Development. While at Barnard, she interned at a number of schools and organizations for individuals with autism. Her culminating research project focused on increased social interactions for teens with autism. Samantha started at TC in the Fall of 2013 as a part-time student while working full time for Barnard College in the Pre-College Program. Samantha is interested in early childhood policy as well as law and education.

Chelsey Jones

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: Higher Education Policy

Previous Colleges:

B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

M.S. in Higher Education from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Chelsey began her study at Teachers College in fall 2013. Prior to TC, Chelsey plunged into college access through the National College Advising Corps at Dan River and Tunstall High Schools in southern Virginia.  She spent a summer working with the incredible students at the Summer Residential Governor's School at Christopher Newport University and most recently spent two years at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as a residence life professional and freshmen seminar instructor.  Chelsey is passionate about college access, college success, financial aid, and the impact of class on students' ability to matriculate to and thrive in the collegiate environment.  She invests her time in exploring these issues here at TC and hopes to work in Washington, DC following graduation in a think tank or policy making capacity.

Christina Kuriacose

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization:


Previous Colleges:
B.S. in Optics, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

Christina Kuriacose graduated from the University of Rochester with a BS in Optics and a Minor in Economics. After graduation Christina joined the US Peace Corps as an Education volunteer in the francophone country of Guinea, West Africa. Her first two years, Christina taught secondary school mathematics and university English, and organized a local Girls' Empowerment Conference. She extended her service 6 months for a self-initiated project developing and administering a teacher training program. In partnership with local, regional and national governments she created a training manual and implemented training sessions, supporting and empowering host country teachers to bring innovation to their classrooms. Christina is entering TC fresh out of her Peace Corps service and hopes to draw from her experiences working in the simplistic and dysfunctional Guinean education system. She is interested in reevaluating the current standards for teachers and equal educational opportunities for students from all socioeconomic situations. 

William Mark

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: Combination of K-12 and Higher Education Policy

Previous Colleges:

B.S. in Economic Analysis from Binghamton University, State University of New York

Allison Milby

M.A. in Education Policy program

Specialization:

Previous Colleges:
B.A.in Philosophy, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Allison earned her B.A. in philosophy with an Italian minor at Rutgers University.  While attending Rutgers, she spent two years with the Rutgers Upward Bound program, tutoring college-bound low-income/first-generation high school students.  While at Rutgers, she also assisted in research studying the correlations between student-teacher relational interactions and student math achievement.  Further inspired to address unequal access to quality education, Allison is also a 2013-14 alumna of City Year, an education-focused non profit.  During her City Year, she had the opportunity to serve as a tutor and role model, organizing after-school activities, school-wide events, and working one-on-one with students in literacy, math, attendance, and behavior.  She is interested in equity of access, community partnerships, and teacher preparation.

Soumya Mishra

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization:


Previous Colleges:
Bachelor of Commerce, Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University, Delhi, India
M.A. in Human Resources and Labor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India  

Soumya was born and raised in Indore, India and has lived in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad over the years. After completing her Bachelor of Commerce at Delhi University, she worked for an year as an investment banker. Next she finished her Masters in Human Resources and Labour Relations from Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Her M.A. thesis and experiences at T.I.S.S sparked an interest in the social sector and after graduating she worked with the World Bank and Tata Institute of Social Sciences on higher education reforms in India.

For over two years she has worked with the central and state governments in India on the design and implementation of the National Higher Education Mission (RUSA). Launched in 2013, this national scheme used performance based finding to push governance and legislative reforms aimed at improving access to and quality of instruction and research in Indian universities and colleges. She has also helped technical institutions across India in understanding and implementing better governance practices through the Technical Education Quality Improvement Program, she continues to manage a resource site (www.teqipgoodgovernance.com) for this project through graduate school.

Soumya is interested in higher education policy, especially in higher education finance, interactions between federal and state governments in higher education, and issues related to governance and regulation in the sector. She hopes to earn her doctoral degree in the future and work on policy research in an international setting.

Angelina Molina

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: K-12 Education Policy


Previous Colleges:
B.A. in Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA

Born and raised in Northern California, Angelina attended the University of California, Berkeley where she studied Political Science and Ethnic Studies. Upon graduation, Angelina joined Teach For America where she taught general education for 2 years with the Oklahoma City Public School District, and received her teaching certificates in Oklahoma Early Childhood Education and Oklahoma Elementary Education. During her time in the classroom, Angelina was a Sue Lehman Semi Regional Finalist and Sponsored Teacher by the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Oklahoma Gas and Electric, Peter Delaney. Angelina recently completed her role as School Operations Director for Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School with Oklahoma Regional Pre-Service prior to attending Teachers College. Her personal experience as a child from a low-income community, and her work with her students in Oklahoma, ground her research interests in the effects of public policies on K-12 education in urban schools. She is deeply committed to expanding educational opportunities to all students through public policy.

Yimeng Qian

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization:


Previous Colleges:
M.A. in Translation and Interpreting, Peking University, Beijing, People's Republic of China

Yimeng Qian (Lucy Tsien) is a new student in education policy program. Her research interest is in educational equity and she has been running an NGO named The Dreamers which holds various Education Volunteer Programs in African and Asian countries to help fight against educational inequity. Qian is also a member of The Lions Club International and runs her own culture communication company back in China which deals in translation business and international trade.

Michelle Stephens

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization:


Previous Colleges:
B.S. in Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ

Michelle earned her B.S. in Nonprofit Leadership and Management at Arizona State University. She served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with Communities in Schools of the Nation’s Capital in Washington D.C. While in DC, Michelle worked in a District of Columbia Public School and helped bring in afterschool programs and planned whole school events that targeted both the students and surrounding community members. Michelle moved to Austin, Texas and completed a second year of AmeriCorps, serving as an Education Specialist for an emergency shelter that housed teenagers in the foster care system. Michelle loved becoming an advocate for this population and their education needs. After her second year of AmeriCorps ended, Michelle stayed in Austin and worked at an Austin Independent School District high school, where she had a caseload of high school seniors who she tutored on a weekly basis. Michelle also provided guidance to her caseload and assisted them with their college applications and financial aid documents. Michelle is interested in learning more about the policies that affect students who are homeless and/or in the foster care system.

Mackenzie Tucker

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization:


Previous Colleges:
B.A. in Politics, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA

Prior to coming to TC, Mackenzie received her B.A. in Politics from Occidental College in Los Angeles. During her time at Occidental, Mackenzie had the opportunity to work at Children's Law Center of Los Angeles where she assisted with hundreds of cases going through Los Angeles Dependency Court. Mackenzie saw educational disparity as a common root cause of many of the cases, which inspired her to focus her studies and work on equity in education and specifically early childhood education. She worked as a research assistant at a charter school in Los Angeles, where she analyzed and offered guidance to the transitional kindergarten curriculum and implementation. In addition, she wrote a 60 page thesis on the topic of universal pre-school and studied extensively Oklahoma's universal pre-school program and results. In her free time, Mackenzie loves to run and explore the vibrant city of New York! 


Ed.M. in Education Policy/LPP