Lab Members

Tzedakah Lab Members

Drezner_Noah_photo 2018
Principal Investigator, Founding Editor of Philanthropy & Education, and Professor of Higher Education

Noah D. Drezner (he/him) is a Professor of Higher Education, Director of the Higher and Postsecondary Education Program, Special Advisor to the Provost for Doctoral Education, and Principal Investigator of The Tzedakah Lab at Teachers College, Columbia University. Additionally, he is founding editor of Philanthropy & Education (Indiana University Press) and Visiting Professor of Education and Philanthropic Studies at Beijing Normal University. Noah is internationally known as a leading researcher on educational philanthropy. His research interests include philanthropy and fundraising as they pertain to colleges and universities, including higher education's role in the cultivation of prosocial behaviors.

Currently, Noah’s work is based on identity-based philanthropy. In other words, he is researching how a person’s social identities affect their giving to higher education and how colleges and universities can engage their alumni in more inclusive ways. He is the co-PI for the National Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Alumni, a multi-institutional mixed methods project, and recently completed a population-based survey experiment, The National Alumni Giving Experiment, that evaluates how a person’s social identities affect their propensity to donate and at what level when exposed to different types of fundraising solicitations.

He has published numerous articles and six books and given several international presentations on related topics. His dissertation received the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) H.S. Warwick Award for Outstanding Research in Alumni Relations for Educational Advancement in 2009. The Association of Fundraising Professionals awarded him the 2014 Skystone Partners Prize for Research on Fundraising and Philanthropy for his book, Expanding the donor base in higher education: Engaging non-traditional donors, and their inaugural Early Career Emerging Scholar Award in the same year. Additionally, he was presented the CASE John Grenzebach Award for Outstanding Research in Philanthropy for Educational Advancement in 2015 for his work on philanthropic mirroring and social identity’s impact on giving.

Noah holds his Bachelor of Science from the University of Rochester, a graduate certificate in non-profit leadership from Roberts Wesleyan College, and his Master of Science in Education and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.

Noah is an active alumni leader at the University of Rochester. Noah serves as president of the Hillel at the University of Rochester Board and co-chair of the University’s Diversity Advisory Council. In the past, he served as co-chair of the Metro New York City Network Leadership Cabinet. He is a charter member of the George Eastman Circle and also serves as an inaugural member of the University’s Alumni Board. Outside of the University, Noah serves on the Justice Policy Institute Board and is the former treasurer of the Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration (ORAM), a nonprofit dedicated to bringing LGBTQI refugees to safety. In the past, he served on the boards of Maryland Hillel and Hillel of Rochester-area Colleges, and as president of Kol Tzedek, a Reconstructionist Synagogue in West Philadelphia.

Research Fellows

Chase McNamee
Research Fellow and Associate Editor of Philanthropy & Education

Chase McNamee is a higher education scholar-practitioner and current doctoral candidate and research fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University in the Higher & Postsecondary Education Ed.D. program. His research focuses on evidence-informed practice and policy and identity-based philanthropy in institutional advancement and higher education.

Chase has served in a variety of roles in higher education and as a practitioner and leader in institutional advancement, including in Alumni Relations, Donor Relations & Stewardship, Fundraising, Development Strategy, and Gift Processing and Management. He also serves as the Editorial Assistant for Philanthropy & Education, where he manages administrative and copy-editing duties for the journal. In addition, he currently works full-time as a Senior Project Manager in the Office of the Chancellor at the University of Denver, where he manages the Community + Values initiative, an initiative aimed at increasing the sense of belonging and community at the institution.

In addition, he currently works full-time as a Senior Project Manager in the Office of the Provost at the University of Denver, where he manages the DU Impact 2025 Strategic Plan and the Community + Values initiative, an initiative aimed at increasing the sense of belonging and community at the institution.

Genevieve Shaker
Research Fellow and Associate Editor of Philanthropy & Education

Genevieve Shaker (she/her) is associate professor of philanthropic studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and adjunct professor of liberal arts and of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Professor Shaker’s research focuses on fundraising and fundraisers, workplace philanthropy, philanthropy education, and higher education advancement. Her current projects include explorations of the fundraising profession, donor and fundraiser philanthropic relationships, studies about employee giving, and ongoing examinations of how higher education contributes to the global common good. Much of her research is intended to contribute to practice and policy as well as to build scholarly understandings. She recently published Fundraising Principles for Faculty and Academic Leaders (Palgrave, 2021) with co-author Aaron Conley and is the lead editor of the fifth edition of Achieving Excellence in Fundraising (Wiley, 2022). She is associate editor of the journal Philanthropy & Education and a fellow of the TIAA Institute.

An advancement officer for 20 years, Professor Shaker served most recently as associate dean for development and external affairs for the School of Liberal Arts, facilitating communications and marketing, alumni programming, and public events as well as fundraising. She and her team oversaw the school’s $20 million-dollar contribution to an overall $3.9 billion university-wide campaign. She teaches academic and professional education courses in philanthropy and fundraising at the Lilly Family School and for its executive education program, The Fund Raising School. She was recognized nationally in 2015 as the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ “Emerging Scholar” for her work at the intersection of scholarship and practice.

She has served as an advisor to several universities, including the University of Illinois Foundation and the Indiana University Foundation. She is an active community volunteer for the American Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis, Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and St. Vincent DePaul. She was selected by fellow graduates of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy for the inaugural distinguished alumni award and is a recipient of IUPUI’s highest award for alumni service to campus and community, The Maynard K. Hine Medal.

Research Assistants

Photo of G Capone
PETRA Archivist

G Capone (they/them) is a doctoral student at Teachers College Columbia University in the Higher & Postsecondary Education program, where they also completed their M.A. degree. As a higher education professional, they are committed to ensuring that LGBTQIA+ students are represented and supported in the academy, both inside of the classroom and across the campus. Their research interests focus on how higher education institutions can support the belonging and success of trans students, faculty, and staff.

Prior to joining Mailman, G interned at several nonprofit organizations in New York City and held multiple positions at John Jay College of Criminal Justice while obtaining their undergraduate degree. Their interest in philanthropy grew out of an internship placement in the development office at The Fresh Air Fund and was strengthened by The Siegel Fellowship in Strategic and Non-Profit Communication, a five-semester undergraduate academic program. These experiences highlighted the importance of philanthropy in education in both the K-12 and postsecondary fields, specifically for marginalized communities.

Photo of Zoya Chhabra
PETRA Archivist

Zoya Chhabra (she/her) is a student in the Higher and Postsecondary Education MA program at Teachers College. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and worked at UCLA for three years as the Chief of Staff to the Dean of Students. Zoya is interested in the intersection of political and educational institutions, and how philanthropy can serve as a crucial resource where state funding does not meet the needs of colleges and universities.

Photo of Jihae Moon
Research Team Member
Jihae Moon (she/her) is a student in the Higher and Postsecondary Education Ed.M. program at Teachers College, where she also received her masters of arts degree. She graduated from Wake Forest University with a bachelors of arts in communication with minors in sociology and entrepreneurship & social enterprise. The school motto, Pro Humanitate, or "for humanity" sparked her passion for philanthropy and social justice, which was further strengthened at Teachers College. Her commitment to educational equity and access guides her to question the sources of funding at higher education institutions and how it pertains to social identity and sense of belonging. She hopes to focus on how institutions may best engage with students, alumni, and donors to create more opportunities for students of underrepresented communities.

Jihae currently works full-time as the Associate Director of Special Events and Programs for the Dean's Office at Columbia College and Columbia Engineering. Her goal is to use her professional experience to develop successful engagement strategies with students and potential donors. Jihae dedicates her extra time to nonprofit organizations such as SuitUp Inc., an organization that strives to ensure that all students have the access and awareness to pursue the college and career of their choosing through corporate partnerships. She sits on the marketing committee to increase volunteer and donor engagement at annual fundraisers and events. Jihae is also a founding member of the Community of Volunteer Educators, a volunteer-run public service organization dedicated to providing free tutoring services and educational enrichment experiences to communities in NYC most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. She created the communications and marketing team to actively engage with volunteers,  families, NYC schools, and grassroots donors to run COVE programs.

Scholar-Practitioner In Residence

Photo of Kobie Smith
Scholar-Practitioner In Residence

Kobie A. Smith is the Executive of Director of Alumni Development and Alumni Relations for the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). He is an advanced Ed.D. student at PennGSE where he is exploring the theoretical underpinnings that explain the grateful patient philanthropy phenomenon.


As Executive Director, he leads PSOM’s alumni major and leadership gifts team and oversees fundraising for the Penn Medicine Office of Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity. At the conclusion of Penn’s recent Power of Penn campaign in June 2021, the team he leads raised a total of $111 million to fund medical student scholarships, curriculum and program enhancements, and a new medical education building. Under his leadership, Penn Medicine’s philanthropic donors created first-ever endowed funds for degrees in Bioethics, Combined MD/MBA (Wharton), Genetic Counseling, Public Health, among others. At Penn, he has also co-taught a Fundraisers’ Roundtable series for all university fundraising staff. Joining PSOM in 2013 as a major gifts officer, he also now serves as a member of Penn Medicine’s Chief Advancement Officer’s (CAO) executive leadership. Together, the CAO team provides direction to the entire Penn Medicine Development and Alumni Relations staff dedicated to supporting the tri-partite mission of patient care, research, and education.


Prior to Penn, he began his career in 2008 at a public university in fundraising roles for the University of Cincinnati’s $1 billion Proudly Cincinnati campaign and then working within non-profit healthcare fundraising for the Christ Hospital Health Network in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ever dedicated to his craft, he earned the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential in 2017. From 2017 to 2019, Kobie served on the Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) Group on Institutional Advancement (GIA) Development Advisory Group. He has also held local and national leadership volunteer roles with the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). He earned a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from the University of Alabama and a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati where he completed two full-time internships within non-profit fundraising departments.

Kristin Watkins Photo
Scholar-Practitioner In Residence

Kristin Watkins is pursuing her Ed.D. in Adult and Higher Education at Oregon State University. Her research interests center on the role and impact of philanthropic scholarship support to colleges and universities and the institutional structures, processes, and practices through which these scholarship funds are raised and awarded. Of particular interest is the relationship between the donor-funded scholarship system and institutional objectives to improve college affordability and completion for students who have been historically underrepresented in higher education. Kristin’s career as an advancement practitioner spans two decades, with experience at both a community college and R1 university. As vice president for donor engagement and chief marketing officer at the Oregon State University Foundation, Kristin leads advancement communications and marketing, annual giving programs, stewardship, and the Foundation’s legislative advocacy efforts. Before joining the OSU Foundation in 2014, she served as executive officer of the Portland Community College Foundation and associate vice president of college advancement, leading private philanthropy, strategic communications, and government and community relations for Oregon’s largest post-secondary education institution. She has served on the CASE District VIII Board of Directors. She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in international studies from Virginia Tech and earned a master’s degree in public affairs from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Visiting Scholars

Xianping Lian
Visiting Doctoral Student, 2016-2017

Dr. Liang Xianping was visiting scholar of Columbia University in the United States in 2016-2017. She received her Ph.D. in Higher education from the Beijing Normal University. She is a postdoctoral researcher of the Centre for Higher Education Research, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China. Her research interests in the policies for improving the philanthropy in Chinese higher education and cross-cultural study on alumni giving motivation. From 2019, she hosts one project of "Comparative Study on Alumni Donation in Chinese and American Universities", funded by Humanities and social Sciences foundation of the Chinese Ministry of Education (Grant NO.: 19YJC880048).

Fumitake Fukui
Research Fellow, Fulbright Visiting Scholar, 2018-2020

Dr. Fumitake Fukui is Associate Professor at Kamakura Women’s University in Kamakura, Japan. He graduated in policy management from Keio University in 2008, and received Ph.D. in higher education from The University of Tokyo in 2014.

He was postdoctoral fellow and Assistant Professor at National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, in Tokyo, from 2014 to 2018. In 2018, he was appointed Fulbright visiting scholar at Teachers College, Columbia University and stayed in New York from 2018 to 2020. His book “The Growth of Individual Donations in U.S. Higher Education (Japanese)” won book awards from the Japan NPO Research Association and the Japan Society of Educational Sociology in 2019.

He has been a principal investigator of a research project “Philanthropy and Japanese higher education: What motivates Japanese donors to give?” funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (2020-2024). His latest article in the International Journal of Higher Education Research is titled “Do government appropriations and tax policies impact donations to public research universities in Japan and the USA?”

Yang Weidong
Visiting Scholar, 2018-2019

Weidong Yang, graduated from the School of Public Administration of Renmin University of China with a doctorate in management. He is the Director of the Education Fund Research Center of North China Electric Power University and Research fellow of the Institute of Public Governance of Renmin University of China.

Research direction: Higher education philanthropy; University foundation governance; University financing.

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