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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

Education Policy program trains students for their careers as policy analysts, policy advocates, and educational 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

Adina Berrios Brooks

Ph.D. student in Education Policy Program

Previous Colleges:
Columbia University, B.A. in Urban Studies
Teachers College, Columbia University, M.A. in Politics and Education.

Specialization: K-12 Education Policy.

Research interests:
school choice, school integration and school assignment policies.  

After graduating from Columbia, Adina taught English in Osaka, Japan with the JET Program. After returning to the U.S., she spent the next decade working in politics and advocacy, including time at the Children's Defense Fund New York office and New York’s Working Families Party. Since 2005, Adina has worked in admissions and student affairs at her Alma mater, at both the undergraduate and graduate level, and is currently the Associate Director of Graduate Admissions and Student Affairs at Columbia Engineering’s Industrial Engineering and Operations Research department.  

Adina is interested in better understanding the school choice decisions of Black and Latino families across the socioeconomic spectrum.

Saima Gowani

Ph.D. candidate in Education Policy Program
Specialization: Early Childhood Education and International Education Policy


While at Teachers College, I have honed my understanding of the social, political, and cultural contexts that shape early childhood policy in the United States as well as globally. I am interested in using data to evaluate the effectiveness of policies, and my training at TC has bolstered my ability to do rigorous quantitative data analysis in order to influence policy. While at TC, I have also been a Graduate Research Fellow at the National Center for Children and Families at Columbia University. The Center works to advance policy, education, and development issues of children and their families through interdisciplinary research. While at the Center, I’ve evaluated programs and policies that affect young children and their families. In addition, I’ve had the opportunity to work as a consultant on projects with UNICEF and the Economist magazine’s Economic Intelligence Unit doing literature reviews, desk reviews, and data collection and analysis.

At present, I am doing some consulting work with a UNICEF-funded project in Pakistan to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a birth-to-two intervention to promote young children’s development. Prior to returning to academia, I worked as a monitoring and evaluation specialist with the Aga Khan Foundation. While there, I developed research and monitoring tools to measure quantitative and qualitative progress of children, teachers, and schools. Most prominently in my work there, I designed an Education Management Information System (EMIS) to help AKF monitor progress in its 3,000 schools globally.

Jacqueline Jodl

Ph.D. candidate in Education Policy Program
Specialization: Developmental Psychology

Previous Colleges:
University of Minnesota, B.A. in Political Science
University of Chicago, M.B.A. in Marketing/Finance
Teachers College, Columbia University, M.A. in Politics and Education

Jacqueline is currently in the dissertation stage of her doctoral studies examining the relationship between non-cognitive skills and gender differences in educational attainment.  Her disciplinary specialization includes developmental psychology with research interests in quantitative methods, early childhood, adolescence, gender differences and the relationship between student performance and school, teacher and peer effects.

Shibani Khanna

Ph.D. candidate in Education Policy Program

Previous Colleges:
University of Texas at Austin, BS in Communication Studies
Brown University, MA in Urban Education Policy

Specialization: Early Childhood Policy

Research interests: early childhood governance and workforce related issues

Elisabeth Kim

Ph.D. candidate in Education Policy Program

Previous Colleges:
Barnard College, BA in American Studies
CUNY City College of New York, MS in Childhood Education
Teachers College Columbia University, ME in Sociology and Education
Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, MA in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences

Hana Lahr

Ph.D. candidate in Education Policy Program
Specialization:  K-12 and Higher Education Policy


Previous Colleges: 
B.A. in Music Performance from the University of Florida,
M.S. in Counseling from Shippensburg University (PA),
Ed.M. in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Teachers College. 

Hana Lahr is a Ph.D. candidate in the Education Policy program.  Her dissertation research examines how foundations develop policies and exercise influence over state and federal education agendas. 

Hana is a Senior Research Assistant at the Community College Research Center (CCRC), where she has worked since 2011. Her current work at CCRC includes two projects. The first is studying the implementation and impacts of performance funding for higher education in three states: Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee. The second project is in partnership with Complete College America and the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement, working with two- and four-year public higher education institutions in Indiana, Tennessee and Georgia to develop and implement guided pathway reforms. In addition to her work at CCRC, Hana is a research assistant for the Office of Accreditation and Assessment at Teachers College, and a Teaching Assistant in the Higher and Postsecondary Education program at TC. 

Katherine Ledwell

Ph.D. student in Education Policy Program

Previous Colleges:
Barnard College, B.A. in Anthropology
Fordham University, M.S. in Teaching Childhood Education

Yoo Jeung Nam

Ph.D. student in Education Policy Program

Specialization: Early Childhood Education Policy

Previous Colleges:
Amherst College, B.A. in Law, Jurisprudence
Harvard University Graduate School of Education, M.E. in International Education Policy

David Nitkin

Ph.D. student in Education Policy
Specialization: K-12 Education Policy


Previous Colleges:
Yale University, B.A. in History
Fordham University, B.S. in Teaching Social Sciences
Teachers College, Columbia University, M.A. in Economics and Education

David's work focuses on the intersection of assessment, blended learning, and data analytics. His dissertation is focused on how schools utilize the data produced by instructional technology tools to enhance student learning.

Jaunelle Pratt-Williams

Ph.D. candidate in Education Policy Program
Specialization: K-12 School Finance Policy and Resource Allocation and Education Law


Previous Colleges:
Emory University, B.A. in Journalism and Educational Studies
University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, M.S.Ed in Elementary Education

Jaunelle's research interests include the allocation of resources to schools and educational organizations as well as the use of data in the process, social and emotional support services, educational opportunities for disadvantaged students, and the connections between the related policies and research. Jaunelle taught 5th grade for four years and has worked as a research consultant with education organizations like The Campaign for Educational Equity and The New Teacher Project. She is currently a Research Assistant at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education.

Vikash Reddy

Ph.D. candidate in Education Policy Program

Previous Colleges:
Dartmouth College, B.A. in Government
Pace University New York City, MS in Education

Vikash is doing his dissertation research on Teach for America alumni in policy, with a focus on political socialization effects of TFA participation.  Prior to enrolling in the doctoral program at TC, Vikash taught third grade in East New York, himself as a member of Teach For America.

Vikash is also a Senior Research Assistant at TC’s Community College Research Center, where he works on a project researching the impacts that state-level performance funding programs have on colleges and universities within their system. In addition to his doctoral work, Vikash is the head of TC’s Policy Student Network, and President of the TC Student Senate.  He is a Teaching Assistant at the School of International and Public Affairs to former NYC Mayor David Dinkins.

Barbara Tanner

Ph.D. candidate in Education Policy Program

Previous Colleges:
Harvard GSE, EdM in School Development
UC Irvine, Multiple subject teaching credential
Brigham Young University, BA in Humanities

Barbara is a PhD candidate in Leadership, Policy, and Politics.  She received her EdM in School Development from Harvard GSE in June 2008.  Before attending Harvard, Barbara taught for Irvine USD in California, spending 13 years at Irvine Home School, a K-8 public school/homeschool hybrid.  Barbara’s research focuses on the ways organizations in a highly institutionalized setting, e.g., public education, pursue both innovation and legitimacy, and how they manage the conflicts these potentially incompatible goals pose for them.  In 2010-11, working as a graduate assistant for Professor Aaron Pallas, Barbara directed a 196-school teacher survey for the Middle School Teacher Turnover Project conducted by the Research Alliance for New York City Schools (RANYCS).  In 2011-12, working directly for RANYCS as a research analyst, Barbara directed a 105-school teacher survey for the Small Schools of Choice high school study.At Teachers College, Barbara has served as the PhD representative for her department on the Student Senate and as an executive board member of the Society for Entrepreneurship and Education.

Barbara skydives, SCUBA dives, and periodically nosedives while walking along the uneven sidewalks of Manhattan. She also loves to hike and bike.

Kendra Thompson-Mitchell

Ph.D. student in Education Policy Program

Previous Colleges:
Hampton University, B.A. in Political Science
Harvard University Law School, Doctor of Laws

Kendra Thompson-Mitchell is a first-year Education Policy doctoral student in the Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis, concentrating on educational policies affecting youth who have come to be in the ward of state governments by virtue of their interaction with the juvenile and criminal justice systems.  One of her more specific interests is whether a study of the philosophical and historical underpinnings of education in the United States might better inform policies affecting these institutionalized youth.  She hopes to determine through this research whether any instructive parallels may be drawn between the educational policies that affected former slaves during the Reconstruction Era and those that are affecting institutionalized youth today.

Kendra received her B.A., summa cum laude, in Political Science from Hampton University, and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. Upon graduation from law school, she practiced as a business and litigation lawyer in the private sector, and also completed a fellowship with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, where she focused her efforts on the Institutionalized Persons Project.  During her fellowship, Kendra assisted in leading an investigation into the quality and quantity of education afforded to children in Youth Centers throughout the state of Illinois.  This fellowship provided the fertile ground from which Kendra’s current research and professional interests sprang.

With respect to policy and legal matters affecting the quality of education rendered to institutionalized youth, Kendra’s professional goals are threefold: (i) contribute to the research being conducted and published in this field; (ii) teach in this area on the graduate level; and (iii) serve as an advisor to local and state governments, as well as non-profit organizations, looking to better formulate and deploy policies in this realm.

Jessica Wallenstein

Ph.D. candidate in Education Leadership with concentration in Leadership, Policy and Politics
Teachers College, Columbia University
Specialization: K-12 Education Policy


Previous Colleges:
University of Chicago, B.A. in English Language and Literature

Hunter College at the City University of New York, M.S. in Childhood Education  

Jessica is a Ph.D. student in the Education Policy program.  Her research interests include teacher development, disproportionality in special education, and the provision of support services for at-risk and special education students. For her dissertation research, she is exploring general education teachers’ decision-making processes when confronted with students who experience persistent difficulties in school. In particular, she is examining the relationship between special education policy and teacher discretion in the process that leads to students' receiving specialized services before they are referred for special education evaluations.   

While completing her program, Jessica has worked as a Graduate Research Assistant on various projects related to teacher development, including research on teacher evaluation systems, collaborative inquiry teams, teacher data use, and the implementation of Common Core State Standards-aligned curricula and assessments. She currently works at the Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) at Columbia Law School, where she conducts qualitative and quantitative research for the New York City Department of Education and elsewhere. She is also a consultant for Girls Preparatory Charter School of New York, coordinating an in-service teacher preparation program and providing instructional coaching. Before beginning her current program, Jessica taught elementary school in New York City for five years.    

Therese Zosel-Harper

Ph.D. student in Education Policy

Previous Colleges:
University of Oregon, B.A. in Sociology
Pace University, Ed.M. in Teaching Social Studies


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, and as a policy associate for an education consulting and research organization’s teacher quality team. After five years away from teaching, she re-entered the profession in Fall 2007, a move prompted by her desire to become reimmersed in the practice that inspired her doctoral pursuits. Kathleen currently works as part of a team at The Consortium on Chicago School Research that is creating a research framework on the noncognitive factors that influence young adult success. As of Summer 2014, 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 Spring 2015.



M.A. in Leadership, Policy and Politics

Peter Seidman

M.A. in Leadership, Policy and Politics

Previous Colleges:

B.A. in English from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
M.E. in English Education form City College New York, NY


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.

Amber Briggs

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: Law and Higher Education Policy

Previous Colleges:

B.A. in Sociology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX


Amber M. Briggs graduated from Texas A&M University with a BA in Sociology, Minor in Africana Studies, and Certificate in Race and Ethnic Relations in 2011. At Texas A&M, Amber was a student leader in the Regents' Scholars Program (a scholarship and retention program for  first-generation students), worked in the Department of Scholarships of Financial Aid, and held an internship at Justice and Sustainability Associates in Washington, DC. After graduation, she served for two years as a college adviser at Elsik High School in Houston, TX. In this role, Amber worked with over 4,000 students to help increase the college-going rates and positively impact the college-going culture of the high school and surrounding community. Amber joined the Education Policy and Social Analysis Program in 2013 and is interested in educational equity specifically revolving around access to higher education for undocumented, minority, and low-income students. She is a Zankel Fellow at Teachers College and is working with the Partnership Schools Consortium in developing a pipeline for the college transitions program.

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. 

Awa Diaw

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: Higher Education Policy

Previous Colleges:

B.A. in Africana Studies from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME


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.  

Cassie Gare

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: K-12 Education Policy

Previous Colleges:

B.A. in Culture and Politics from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, Washington, DC

Prior to coming to TC, Cassie Gare taught middle school special education and reading intervention in DC Public Schools. During that time, she had the opportunity to participate in policy discussions around critical issues affecting DCPS as a Teachers Central to Leadership Fellow and a member of the Chancellors' Teachers’ Cabinet. Her experiences in DCPS inspired her decision to enroll at TC, where she is interested in studying barriers to K-12 reform in urban districts.

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.

Menglin (Maria) Guo

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: Higher Education Policy

Previous Colleges:

B.A. in International Studies from the University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Maria Guo earned her B.A. in International Studies from the University of Washington - Seattle. Maria's interests include higher education and community engagement. Maria has always been a strong advocate for students' voice. She herself has constantly been involved in various student advocacy groups from high school to college. She is most proud of her recent community engagement project - a departmental mentor program that she set up during her college senior year to better connect alumni with current students. In addition, Maria has special interest in social media and how it plays a role in today's increasingly globalized society. She crafted an original thesis of 80 pages on the topic of social media to complete her college honors program. Maria has traveled around North America, East Asia, and Western Europe. She loves traveling solo to challenge herself to quickly adapt into different and unfamiliar environments. In her spare time, Maria enjoys hiking and anything that is nature-related!

Danielle Herman

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: K-12 Education Policy

Previous Colleges:
B.S. in Business Administration (Marketing) from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.
M.S. in Adolescent Math Education from Pace University, New York, NY


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.

Natalie Kolodinski

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: Bridging the High School and Higher Education Divide


Previous Colleges:
B.A. in Psychology and Teaching Credential from Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA  

Entering her second year at Teachers College, Natalie is working toward her Masters in Education Policy and has developed her own Specialization centered around Bridging the High School and Higher Education Divide. Prior to enrolling in EPSA, she worked in undergraduate college admission at her alma mater and worked briefly in the classroom in a Los Angeles public school. As an eager EPSA student in the 2013-2014 academic year, she joined the inaugural EPSA Student Council as the Education Policy program's representative and worked closely with fellow Council members to implement EPSA's New Student Initiative. She current sits as the Council's Interim Chair. Her first year at TC led her to the current position she currently holds as the Assistant Director of High School Programs at The TEAK Fellowship, an education non-profit dedicated to improving educational access for low-income students of New York City. She is currently completing her coursework and thesis part-time at TC while working full-time at TEAK, and remains active as a volunteer alumni representative for Occidental. Natalie is a champion for underserved students, and seeks to help mitigate the inequalities that these populations face in accessing higher education.

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.

James Nadeau

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: Higher Education Policy


Previous Colleges:
B.A. in Government and Legal Studies, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME.

James (Jamie) Nadeau is an incoming M.A. student in the Education Policy Program. He has worked for the past three years at The Opportunity Network (OppNet), an organization that equips high-achieving, underserved New York City public school students with career development, college guidance, and college support. His primary role has been to develop, maintain, and leverage relationships with admissions offices and academic enrichment programs with the goal of expanding and improving educational outcomes for OppNet students.  

A Government and Legal Studies major at Bowdoin College, Jamie completed an independent study centered on the federal government’s investment in public service programs. As a student, he took on leadership positions in the admissions office, the office of residential life, and the McKeen Center for the Common Good, Bowdoin’s center for public engagement. Jamie graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 2010 and was the recipient of Bowdoin’s Spirit of Service Award. After graduation, Jamie worked as a Princeton in Africa Fellow for a small scholarship foundation in Lusaka, Zambia called Kucetekela. He coordinated the organization’s mentoring program, counseled and tutored dozens of students, and completed a research project focused on Zambian education policy. Inspired and invigorated by his fellowship, Jamie sought to apply the many skills he developed and strengthened abroad to domestic education work.  

A member of professional networks including the National College Access Network, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling, and the College Access Consortium of New York, Jamie has sought to engage in the growing national conversation about college and career readiness. At TC, Jamie hopes to explore how colleges and universities can better reach and support low-income students, as well as deepen his understanding of the educational policies and interventions that best prepare students for postsecondary and professional success. 

He lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn and spends his free time competing in a local ultimate frisbee league, playing the drums, and exploring New York’s vibrant music scene.

Tatev Papikyan

M.A. in Education Policy program

Specialization:


Previous Colleges:
B.A. in Anthropology and Gender Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, CA

Born and raised in Armenia/Russia, Tatev came to the States in 2005 in pursuit of an education that embraces a "no-holds-barred" philosophy in regards to her race or ethnicity. She earned her B.A in Anthropology and Gender Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. As a McNair Research Scholar for UCLA, Tatev immersed herself in her work on how the roles of stereotype threat negatively impact transfer students.  When not involved with her research, she can be found using her various social identities and academic experiences to educate others about the challenges and difficulties that students of color, international students, and transfer students face in their pursuit of a higher education. Her unique experiences help students navigate themselves towards a successful future. Tatev is currently working as a Graduate Hall Director at Columbia University. She plans to obtain her PhD in Business (Organizational Behavior). 

Mark Pelham

M.A. in Education Policy Program
Specialization: Information and Computer Technology Policy


Previous Colleges:
B.A. in History from SUNY College Geneseo, NY

Mark was born and raised in the area of Jamestown, New York.  He earned his B.A. in History, as well as initial New York State teaching certification, at State University of New York at Geneseo.  Mark was involved with various classroom experiences as an undergraduate, teaching in multiple schools in the Rochester, NY area.  In the years after his undergraduate study Mark worked for over 2 years with the US Peace Corps in Guyana, South America.  He was involved with teaching English to secondary students, as well as expanding Information Technology resources and teaching in Region 3 of Guyana.  After his Peace Corps service, Mark worked with the Washington, DC office of Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26).  He is currently working as a Technology Fellow with TC's EPSA department and as a Student Program Coordinator for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in New Jersey.  Mark's academic  knowledge and interests span topics in education, foreign affairs, information technology,  and politics.  His ultimate goal is to pursue professional opportunities that allow him to integrate these various domains.

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.

Alia Sabbs

M.A. in Education Policy

Specialization: K-12 Education Policy


Previous Colleges:
B.A. in English from Spelman College, Atlanta, GA

Alia is a former 2010 Teach for America Corp Member. She taught middle school Reading/Language Arts for three years in the Washington, DC area in both public and charter schools. In addition to teaching, Alia worked with the Washington, DC Summer Youth Employment Program where she wrote and designed over 10 programming curriculum guides and managed district-wide implementation. With a vibrant passion for school change and reform, Alia joined the EPSA department in Fall 2013 specializing in K-12 policy. This summer, Alia was an Education Pioneers Fellow where she created an online platform demonstrating the Regents graduation requirements for a New York City charter school specializing in over-age under credited students.

Currently, Alia works as a consultant in the Office of Inter-School Collaboration and Learning at the New York City Department of Education. In this position, she is responsible for identifying strengths among NYC schools and sharing best practices through collaboration.

Isaac Solano

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization: K-12 Education Policy


Previous Colleges:
B.A. in Political Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WA

Isaac Solano is a second year Masters of Arts candidate here at Teachers College, Columbia University. His emphasis is K-12 Education Policy. He was born in Denver, Colorado and raised by his grandparents Stella and Bill Chacon in the North Denver neighborhood of Globeville. He is an active student leader at Teachers College belonging to groups like the Gates Millennium Scholarship Network.

In the summer of 2011 Isaac founded The College Boot Camp whose purpose is to motivate high-need, inner-city middle school students to apply to college. The camp exposes them to college students from similar backgrounds and scholarship foundations and teaches them the fundamentals of the admissions process, the financial aid process, and other processes students go through when applying to colleges. Since the program’s inception, it has been taught in two different school districts in the metropolitan area of Denver.  It was also recently introduced to a school in Chicago Public School.  

In the past, Isaac has interned for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington DC and the Denver Public Schools Foundation.  During these experiences he was responsible for conducting community outreach, managing the alumni profiles and attending congressional briefings on Capitol Hill. 

Once he finished his education, Isaac hopes to conduct research on the public schools through Metropolitan Denver, and in time run for municipal office. It is no secret that his dream is to be mayor of his city.

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! 

Amanda Washington

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization:

Previous Colleges:

B.A. in English from Spelman College, Atlanta, GA

Master of Teaching in ESOL from the American University, Washington, D.C.

Learn more about Amanda from the TC People article "Her Choice to Change the World."


Jun Yan

M.A. in Education Policy Program

Specialization:

Previous Colleges:

B.A. in Italian from Bejing Language and Culture University, China

Jun Yan comes to TC from the area of Lanzhou City, China. During his undergraduate studies, Jun worked as a part-time teacher in training organizations. He also served as a teacher’s aid at Beijing schools for migrant workers. Yan’s interest in and knowledge of the field of education policy kept growing as he engaged and communicated with education professionals and reformers in China. He gained considerable experience in the field by co-founding and co-running an English education organization, and by starting another education-training company. At Teachers College, Yan focuses on public education reform, innovative education, and entrepreneurship. His ultimate goal is to contribute to public education reform in China via non-governmental channels, as well as to promote quality education and education equity in a global context.


Ed.M. in Education Policy/LPP

Michael DeLeon

Ed.M. in Education Policy

Previous Colleges:

B.A. in History from Texas A& M University, College Station, TX
B.S. in Recreational Administration from Texas State University, San Marcos, TX
M.Ed. in College and University Personnel Administration from University of Texas, Austin

Specialization: Higher Education Policy

Originally from Central Texas, Michael moved to New York City to enroll at Teachers College. Prior to TC, Michael held positions within the Century Scholars Program, Honors Programs at Texas A&M University and the Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) Pre-Graduate School Internship Consortium at UT Austin. Michael’s research interests center on access and completion policies for underrepresented students in higher education. In his spare time, Michael enjoys running Central Park, surfing at Rockaway Beach and watching college football.

Carolina Gazmuri Barker

Ed.M. in Leadership, Policy and Politics

Previous Colleges:
Pontificia Universidad Católica, Chile,  B.S. in Industrial Engineering

Interest: Education policy, organizational theory, and education leadership—Carolina is interested in continue learning about these topics, especially how different policies can influence management and leadership in schools.

Esther Kim

Ed.M. in Education Policy

Previous Colleges:
BA in English, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

MS in Secondary Education in English, University of Pennsylvania, PA

Specialization: K-12 Education Policy.

Samuel Milder

Ed.M. in Leadership, Policy and Politics

P
revious Colleges:

B.A. in Spanish from the Bates College, Lewiston, ME
M.A. in Public Policy from the 
Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain

Specialization: