EII Internships in Education Research Methods
The Education Innovation Institute offers internships for selected graduate students to learn the skills necessary to conduct education research using large longitudinal data sets. The mission of this program is to expose young researchers to the complex techniques increasingly being used to investigate questions in education policy and practice and to help them appreciate the perspectives of policy makers and practitioners when shaping their research questions. The curriculum is taught by EII Executive Director Kristin Klopfenstein, Trent Lalonde, assistant professor of Applied Statistics and Research Methods, and Gabriel Serna, assistant professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership.
Josh’s interest is in examining how administrative (federal, state, and local) fiscal concerns drive decision-making in higher education institutions, and how these decisions affect equity, including for women athletes. Through the internship he hopes to improve his quantitative analytical skills using the kinds of large, longitudinal data sets becoming available in his areas of policy interest. A Ph.D. candidate in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership (HESAL,) he holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UNC in English, with a focus on film studies, art history, and philosophy. His work experience includes teaching composition and film at Aims Community College and UNC.
As a high school science teacher Stephanie studied her students to try to discern which teaching methods were most effective for helping them understand difficult concepts and for preparing them for challenging college courses. In her earlier work as a research assistant in nutrition research she focused on the application of basic research and its practical implications – not new scientific knowledge purely for knowledge sake, but how new knowledge could be practically applied to make human life better. This background led her to the internship to learn research techniques for her research at UNC and to learn more about educational policy both at the secondary and collegiate levels. She is a candidate for an Ed.D. in Education Studies with a minor in Statistics and Research Methods. She holds bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and food and nutrition/dietetics from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, and a master’s degree in human nutrition from Case Western Reserve University and earned a teaching license from Baldwin-Wallace College. She also has taught community college courses in anatomy and physiology, nutrition, and biotechnology
Chad’s research interests focus on issues of access, equality, stratification, and postsecondary/career outcomes related to student participation in pre-college preparatory programs. His current work quantitatively compares college level outcomes related to student participation in Advanced Placement and dual enrollment programs during high school. He applied to the internship to deepen his understanding and use of econometric techniques with large longitudinal data sets. Chad is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Colorado-Boulder in the Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice program, with an emphasis in Research and Evaluation Methods. His bachelor’s degree is from UNC in sociology and economics and his master’s is from Arizona State University in higher education management. He currently works as the assistant director for Assessment and Evaluation within the College of Arts and Sciences – ASSETT – a center that works on projects related to the research and assessment of teaching and learning with technology. Chad’s job is to coordinate those activities.
Frieda is a former middle school math teacher who returned to school to get a PhD in mathematics education. She now works as a Mathematics Education Research Associate at UNC. While her teaching and research are grounded in mathematics teacher education – she has designed and taught units that focus on implementing high cognitive demand tasks, facilitating productive discourse, and articulating the mathematics embedded in a task – she has long had an interest in education policy not only because it influences mathematics education, but also because she is curious about the mechanisms that drive policy making. Her training is primarily in qualitative research, so she joined the EII Seminar to better understand the quantitative methods typically used in research that informs policy. This knowledge would support her if she were ever in a position of communicating to policy makers what the research does and does not say. Frieda holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Knox College, an M.B.A. from the University of California-Berkeley, and a PhD in educational mathematics from UNC, where she also landed a post-doctoral position and now works as a research associate.