STUDENT FINANCIAL AID RESEARCH NETWORK
28th Annual SFARN Conference
June 2-4, 2011
Info | Presentations | Speaker Biographies
Rob Anderson was appointed as senior director of policy and planning at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission in 2007. Prior to that, he served as director of research and planning for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission in Nashville, Tennessee and as an administrator and instructor at Montreat College in Montreat, North Carolina. His scholarly focus has been in the areas of student access and financial aid policy with a particular interest in merit aid programs and their impact on institutional and student outcomes.
Beth Tankersley-Bankhead is the Executive Director of the Missouri College Advising Corps. Dr. Tankersley-Bankhead holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Central Missouri, a M.S. in Counseling and Psychology, with an emphasis in College Student Personnel, from Eastern Illinois University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri (MU). Some of Dr. Tankersley-Bankhead's career experience includes serving as Executive Director of the Associated Students of the University of Missouri, Director of Community Engagement at the University of Central Missouri where she developed a summer bridge program with the Kansas City Missouri School District, Director of Field Services at Kappa Delta Pi international honor society in education, and years of experience in administrative positions in student life at the University of Central Missouri, Eastern Illinois University, and the University of Nebraska-Kearney.
Angela Bell is a Research and Planning Analyst as well as the Interim Director of State Financial Aid Programs at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC). She completed her doctorate in the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia in 2008. Her dissertation focused on how high school context mediates the effectiveness of state policies aimed at improving college access for underrepresented students. Her research on merit aid has explored the political processes surrounding policy adoption and evolution, curricular criteria to receive the scholarships, student perceptions of state merit aid, and educational outcomes of students receiving these scholarships. In her work at the HEPC, in addition to assisting in the production of statutorily required documents such as the state's comprehensive financial aid report, Bell has conducted research on how such factors as financial aid, developmental education, and transfer shape student success. She is currently serving as a Member-at-Large for the ASHE Council on Public Policy in Higher Education.
Michael Bryan is a research education analyst in the longitudinal studies program in RTI's Education Studies Division (ESD). His work focuses on the collection and analysis of data on postsecondary education, particularly from student transcripts. He served as the task leader for transcript data collection for the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS) and the Baccalaureate and Beyond Study (B&B). Prior to joining ESD Mr. Bryan was assistant director of a leadership development program for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. He also spent 8 years as an environmental scientist in RTI's Environmental Science and Engineering Group. He has a Masters in Education from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Margaret Cahalan is a Senior Research Scientist with the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education where she is the Co-Principal Investigator on a US Department of Education (ED) Investment in Innovation (I-3) grant Using Data to Improve College Access Programming (DICAP) also known as Gaining Options for College Collaborative (Go College). Prior to joining the Pell Institute in 2011, Dr. Cahalan served as the Secondary-Postsecondary Cross-Cutting (SPCC) Team leader in the Policy and Planning Studies Services (PPSS) in the Office of Planning Evaluation and Policy Development (OPEPD). Prior to joining the ED in 2004, while employed as a research contractor for over 20 years at Westat, Mathematica, and RTI, Dr. Cahalan served as project director for major NCES and NSF national sample surveys and federal program evaluations in the area of secondary and postsecondary education including the NCES and NSF National Study of Recent College Graduates (NSRCG), the NCES National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF) , the National Evaluation of Student Support Services and the National Evaluation of Talent Search. She also served as Survey Director for the data collection for the Third Follow-up of the National Evaluation of Upward Bound while employed as the Associate Director of the DC Survey and Information Services Division at Mathematica. Her work in federal program evaluation field, both as a practitioner and as a technical contract monitor, has led to her current interest in exploring and finding new models for program evaluation (such as utilization focused evaluation, collaborative and empowerment evaluation, and complex systems evaluation) that will hopefully lead to useful and valid information that can be used for program improvement. Dr. Cahalan received her doctorate in Sociology from University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in 1983.
Rachel Frick Cardelle is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education Program at Penn State University. She received her BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder and her Masters in international economics, and social change and development from SAIS at Johns Hopkins. She worked both domestically and abroad for a number of years in the field of grassroots community development for Latin America for Oxfam America, Aesculapius International Medicine, and the InterAmerican Foundation. She also ran a policy research and advocacy program for homeless with HIV/AIDS in Miami, Florida. Most recently, Ms. Frick Cardelle worked at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, PA as the Grants Specialist. Her research interests are focused on community colleges and access, retention and success issues, particularly for underrepresented groups and women.
Susan Chin, CPA, is a Senior Analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). She has extensive experience in the design and execution of research and analysis resulting in studies presented to the U.S. Congress. Susan has led numerous teams and studies related to K-12 and higher education, financial management, and compliance issues. Susan is based out of GAO's Seattle Field Office and assigned to the Education, Workforce, and Income Security group.
Susan Choy is President of MPR Associates, Inc., a Berkeley consulting firm that conducts innovative research and develops practical tools to inform education policy and practice from K-12 through adult education. She has been conducting research on issues related to postsecondary access and persistence and student financial aid for more than 25 years, primarily for the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). She is the author of numerous reports published by NCES on these topics and has been involved in the design and analysis of the various cross-sectional and longitudinal postsecondary sample surveys conducted by NCES. Dr. Choy has a Ph.D. in public administration from New York University.
Suzanne B. Clery is a Senior Research Associate at JBL Associates, Inc. Ms. Clery received her MBA from the University of Maryland and a BA in Economics from Virginia Tech. She has been an analyst working with issues surrounding higher education issues for two decades, including student access and persistence, educational outcomes, institutional characteristics and finance, student characteristics, faculty salaries, and financial aid. Most recently, Ms. Clery is JBLA's Senior Project Manager for Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation signature community college initiative - Completion by Design. Ms. Clery has technical expertise, knowledge, and experience in developing, populating, and maintaining large-scale complex databases, survey methodology, managing large projects, and computer-based hardware and software technologies. She designs data collection instruments, writes documentation for databases, manages databases, conducts analysis and prepares analytical reports. Ms. Clery is highly experienced with many higher education national databases, and has used them extensively in projects.
Alisa Federico Cunningham is Vice President of Research and Programs at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP). She oversees all of the organization's research studies, project evaluations, and programmatic work. In addition, Cunningham conducts specific research and manages several projects related to disadvantaged populations around the world. Since joining IHEP in 1997, Cunningham's work has addressed a broad array of topics, including higher education financing, student financial aid, minority-serving institutions, student persistence and attainment, international higher education policy, and opportunities for student access and success. During her tenure at the organization, she has been involved in several cutting-edge national studies, and Cunningham's recent work on the benefits of higher education, net prices, and student unit record data systems has received wide acclaim. Cunningham supervises the various projects of the IHEP research analysts and program managers. Working closely with the president and other senior management, Cunningham also oversees the financial and strategic planning of project work and ensures that research and program work is integrated with IHEP's mission and goals. Before joining IHEP, she worked as a staff assistant for the director of regulatory policy at the American Enterprise Institute and as editor for the Bonn International Center for Conversion. Cunningham regularly makes presentations about IHEP's work at meetings and conferences. She has published articles in various journals and magazines, and is the author or co-author of several of the IHEP's most popular publications, including: Convergence: Trends Threatening to Narrow College Opportunity in America; Minority-Serving Institutions: What Can We Learn?; Student Aversion to Borrowing: Who Borrows and Who Doesn't; The Future of Private Loans: Who Is Borrowing, and Why?; and Changes in Patterns of Prices and Financial Aid.
Feride Daku holds the position of Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education at Virginia Tech. In her current role, she provides leadership in the budgetary and human resource operations for the Undergraduate Education Division and its 16 constituent departments. Feride received her Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Virginia Tech and is a Ph.D. Candidate in the university's Higher Education Administration program. She also received two bachelor's degrees from the Agricultural University of Tirana in Albania. A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1996, previously Feride held the positions of budget analyst, senior budget analyst, and budget manager in the VT's Office of Budget and Financial Planning.
Lefter Daku holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. in applied economics from Virginia Tech. As Associate Director of Research and Planning in the Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid at Virginia Tech, Lefter oversees the areas of strategic planning, reporting, fiscal management, and information systems. He has over 24 years of professional, teaching and research experience in higher education. Lefter serves on the ED's Technical Review Panel (TRP) for the NPSAS survey. Also, he served on the TRP for Net Price Calculator and was a member of the NASFAA/AIR Advisory Board of college net price. He chaired NASFAA's Research Committee in 2009-2010 and has served on that committee since 2006-2007. Lefter is a regular presenter at state, regional and national conferences related to financial aid issues. His publications include a number of the refereed journal articles, book chapters and monographs.
Jennifer Engle is the Director of Higher Education Research and Policy at the Education Trust. At EdTrust, she directs the research agenda of the Higher Education team, including leading the data analysis and reporting related to the Access to Success Initiative (A2S), an ambitious effort to advance the equity agenda in colleges and universities in the public realm. Jennifer was previously the Interim Director and Senior Research Analyst at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. At the Pell Institute, she was the lead author on several major publications including, Demography is Not Destiny: Increasing the Graduation Rates of Low-Income College Students at Large, Public Universities, Straight From the Source: What Works for First-Generation College Students, and Moving Beyond Access: College Success for Low-Income, First-Generation Students.
Meeta Engle is an Assistant Director at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). She is based out of the Seattle Field Office and is assigned to the Education, Workforce, and Income Security group. During her 23 years with GAO, Meeta has led a number of studies pertaining to higher education, employment and training, and worker protection.
Wendy Erisman is the owner of Strix Research LLC, based in Austin, Texas, offering research, consulting, and program evaluation services in higher education. Current Strix Research projects include evaluations of Lumina Foundation for Education's Adult College Completion Initiative, the Southern Regional Education Board's Collaborative Counselor Training Initiative, and the Walmart Minority Student Success Initiative. Dr. Erisman formerly worked as senior research specialist with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Prior to returning to her native Texas, she served as director of research and evaluation at the Institute for Higher Education Policy in Washington, DC. In this role, she managed several major evaluation projects, including a multi-year nationwide evaluation of the College Goal Sunday financial aid access program. She also served as principal author of several IHEP research studies, including Creating Change One Step at a Time: An Overview of Efforts to Improve College Access and Success in Indiana; Opening the Door to the American Dream: Increasing Higher Education Access and Success for Immigrants; and Learning to Reduce Recidivism: A 50-State Study of Postsecondary Correctional Education Policy. Dr. Erisman received her doctorate in cultural anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, her master's degree in sociology from Yale University, and her bachelor's degree in sociology from Rice University.
Carol Frances is an economist specializing in the economics and finance of education, with a continuing interest in student financial aid issues. Dr. Frances has been a Visiting Scholar and Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University in California since 1998 and taught full-time at Seton Hall University in New Jersey from 2005 to 2008. In addition to the courses on the Economics and Finance of Education, she taught courses in Education Law, Policy Analysis, and Comparative and International Education. She served seven years as the Chief Economist of the American Council on Education. She subsequently served as a private consultant to individual colleges and universities and education associations, as well as to federal and state government agencies. She directed strategic planning projects for universities which involved building system dynamic computer models. Most recently, she has been examining the impact of information technology on higher education and she is the co-editor of a book on the costs of IT on college campuses. She is currently examining the gender gap in the award of degrees in the STEM fields. Through Claremont, Dr. Frances was awarded an Avery Foundation four-month travel grant to China sparking an intense, enduring interest in China. She serves on the Board of the Hemet Library Foundation for which she is presenting a series for the Adventurous Armchair Travelers, with Madagascar next.
Maly Fung received her B.A. in International Affairs from Lafayette College in Easton, PA and her M.S.Ed in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, where she served as a graduate assistant for the Office Academic and Student Affairs. There, she played an integral role in the creation of the school's first Student Government Association and Diversity Advisory Board. Prior to joining EPI, Maly served as a street outreach counselor for youth in crisis at Seton Youth Shelter in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She taught middle school through the Urban Teaching Fellowship in New York City; ESL classes to recent immigrants in Queens, New York; and critical theory at the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Maly is a native of Venezuela and is fluent in Spanish and Cantonese. In her spare time, Maly enjoys volunteering, traveling and working with youth.
Claire Gilbert is a Ph.D. candidate in the Higher Education Program at Penn State University. Claire received her B.A. from Northwestern University in 2008, after which she worked as an analyst at Deloitte Consulting in Human Resource Transformation. For the past two years Claire has served as a graduate research assistant in Penn State's Center for the Study of Higher Education working with Don Heller, most recently on the Center's NSF Veterans Engineering grant.
Sara Goldrick-Rab, Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and Sociology, is an expert on inequality in postsecondary education. Her work considers the sources and consequences of social and economic stratification broadly conceived, with the goal of identifying policy levers to level the playing field. She is a 2010-2015 William T. Grant Faculty Scholar and co-director of the Wisconsin Scholars Longitudinal Study. Dr. Goldrick-Rab is an active member of numerous professional and policy organizations and a frequent consultant for the Center for American Progress, Brookings Institution, and American Enterprise Institute.
Donald E. Heller is Professor of Education and Senior Scientist, and Director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education at The Pennsylvania State University. He teaches and conducts research on higher education economics, public policy, and finance, with a primary focus on issues of college access and choice for low income and minority students. He has consulted on higher education policy issues with university systems and policymaking organizations in California, Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Washington, Washington DC, and West Virginia, and has testified in front of Congressional committees, state legislatures, and in federal court cases as an expert witness. Dr. Heller earned an Ed.D. in Higher Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and holds an Ed.M. in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard and a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Tufts University. Before his academic career, he spent a decade as an information technology manager at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In July 2007 he was named the ninth Director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Penn State and in 2009 he was a visiting professor at Birkbeck College, University of London. Dr. Heller's research has been published in scholarly journals including the Journal of Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, Educational Policy, and The Journal of Student Financial Aid, and he has been interviewed by and his work has been reported on by media including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Business Week, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Times Higher Education, The Daily Telegraph, National Public Radio, CNN Headline News, and Marketplace Radio. He is editor of the books Generational Shockwaves and the Implications for Higher Education (with M. d'Ambrosio, Edward Elgar, 2009), State Postsecondary Education Research: New Methods to Inform Policy and Practice (with K. Shaw, Stylus Publishing, 2007), Condition of Access: Higher Education for Lower Income Students (ACE/Praeger, 2002), and The States and Public Higher Education Policy: Affordability, Access, and Accountability (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001). Dr. Heller has presented his research to audiences in Austria, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Canada, Spain, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and the United States. Dr. Heller received the 2002 Promising Scholar/Early Career Achievement Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education, a scholarly society with 1,500 members dedicated to higher education as a field of study. He was also the recipient in 2001 of the Robert P. Huff Golden Quill Award from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, for his contributions to the literature on student financial aid.
John B. Lee is President of JBL Associates, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in postsecondary education policy research and located in Bethesda, MD. His career includes work at the local, state and national level. Dr. Lee has published numerous reports on different aspects of postsecondary education policy and finance. Topics have included financial aid, affordability of college, community college performance, and student access and persistence, for clients including the National Center for Education Statistics and the Office of Student Financial Aid in the U.S. Department of Education, the National Education Association, the Lumina Foundation and the Brookings Institution. Currently, Dr. Lee is involved in several national projects to improve student graduation rates. Before founding JBL Associates in 1985, Dr. Lee worked for the Education and Labor Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Education Commission of the States, and Stanford Research International. He earned a BA and MA from California State University at Sacramento, and received an Ed.D. in postsecondary education from the University of California, Berkeley.
Mamie Lynch is a Higher Education Research and Policy Analyst at The Education Trust, an organization that promotes high academic achievement for all students, with the goal of closing the opportunity and achievement gaps that face low-income students and students of color. At The Education Trust, she has conducted research on financial aid policy, institutions with small graduation rate gaps, and access and success rates at a variety of institutions, including public flagship universities and for-profit colleges. She holds a Master in Public Policy from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute.
Abby Miller is the Research and Project Manager for the Pell Institute. Previously, Abby worked as a Research Associate for JBL Associates, where she managed and conducted research projects pertaining to postsecondary education policy. At the Pell Institute she has continued her focus on the retention and success of low-income, underrepresented and academically underprepared students, co-authoring Pell Institute publications including Bridging the Gaps to Success: Promising Practices for Promoting Transfer among Low-Income and First-Generation Students and Raising the Graduation Rates of Low-Income College Students. She was also the lead author of PERSIST: A Comprehensive Guide for Student Success in Higher Education, for ECMC Foundation, and has co-authored two books addressing the transition from college to the workforce. Abby holds a master's degree in education policy and leadership with a concentration in higher education from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a bachelor's in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis.
Stephanie R. Miller is the Senior Data Analyst at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, where she works primarily on a federally-funded project focused on the use of data and college access. Prior to working at the Pell Institute, she was the Policy and Research Analyst for the Maryland Higher Education Commission. She has served as an evaluator and researcher on several federally funded projects focused on achievement outcomes for youth, principal leadership and comprehensive school reform programs. She holds two B.A. degrees from the University of Maryland in African American studies and journalism, and a M.A. from the University of Michigan in Education Leadership and Research. She completed her doctorate in Urban Education at Temple University in 2009. Her dissertation focused on the relationship between neighborhood social and physical conditions and student college-going attitudes using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial analysis.
Christopher Mullin serves as the Program Director for Policy Analysis at the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). In this capacity his chief responsibility is to provide analysis and supporting data to guide and enhance AACC's advocacy efforts; with an emphasis on federal student financial assistance, the performance of community colleges in serving low-income and minority students, accountability, institutional performance, college costs and related institutional policies. Additionally, he responds to immediate needs for the analysis of federal legislative, regulatory, and related policies while also playing a central role in shaping AACC's long-term federal policy agenda. Prior to joining the AACC, Dr. Mullin was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Illinois Education Research Council and Assistant Research Professor at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Dr. Mullin's research interests include the influence of state P-20 education structures on the educational decisions of both institutions and individuals. To date, his research has focused on the evolution and development of state postsecondary education systems, with specific focus on community colleges, through the lens of state legislative and fiscal policy. His completed research has been published in refereed journals such as the Journal of Education Finance, the Community College Review, the Journal of School Business Management and the Journal of College Student Retention and has given presentations to both scholars and practitioners at the annual meetings of organizations such as NACUBO, the American Education Finance Association, ASHE, AIR, and AACC. Dr. Mullin serves the postsecondary community in many ways, including his service on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Education Finance and as a contributing editor to the Community College Review. Further, he serves on several advisory boards including the Data Quality Campaign Postsecondary Committee, the National Education Finance Conference and the Pathways to College Network. Dr. Mullin earned a Bachelors of Education degree at the University of Florida in 1999, a Master of Education degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2005 and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration from the University of Florida in 2008.
David Mundel graduated from MIT with degrees in Physics and Political Science and received his Ph.D. from MIT, in Political Science and Economics. During his graduate studies, Dr. Mundel was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. During his academic career, Dr. Mundel's research and consulting work focused on the design and evaluation of access-oriented higher education policies and programs. His research papers included one of the earliest econometric studies of the determinants of college-going and college choice - "An Empirical Investigation of Factors which Influence College-Going Behaviors" (co-authored with Meir G. Kohn and Charles F. Manski. Dr. Mundel served as a consultant to the Executive Office of the President during the Johnson and Nixon administrations, where he was a principal participant in the process that resulted in the passage and implementation of the Pell Grant Program during the early 1970's. Subsequently, he joined the Congressional Budget Office, where he created and directed the division responsible for the analysis of education, labor, health, and welfare policies and budgets. During the last several years, Dr. Mundel has been an independent consultant, serving both not-for-profit organizations and for-profit companies. His higher education research has focused on assessing the potential role of marketing, recruiting and student aid program redesign in improving the efficacy of access-oriented, public policies. His recent publications include: "What do we know about the impact of grants to college students?" (in Baum, McPherson, and Steele, editors, "The Effectiveness of Student Aid Policies: What the Research Tells Us", College Board. 2008) and "Do Increases in Pell and Other Grant Awards Increase College-Going among Lower Income High School Graduates?" (Brookings 2008).
Andrew Nichols is the Senior Research Analyst for the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, which is the research arm for the Council for Opportunity in Education. Prior to joining the Pell Institute in 2009, he was at The Pennsylvania State University where he received his Ph.D. in Higher Education. Dr. Nichols has authored and co-authored several manuscripts, including several peer-reviewed journal articles that have been published in the Review of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, and Teachers College Record. His professional experiences include: working in university housing and residential education, coordinating summer bridge programming for underrepresented racial/ethnic minority students, supplying college preparation instruction to TRIO students in an Upward Bound Math/Science program, providing academic advising to incoming first-year college students, and teaching at the university level. Dr. Nichols also holds a Master's degree in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Vanderbilt University.
Nicole Norfles currently serves as the Director, Program Practice and Innovation with the Council for Opportunity in Education where her primary task is implementation of the Investing in Innovation (i3) grant, now termed the GO College Collaborative, in Louisville, KY and Erie, PA. She previously served as the Education Program Officer with the Oprah Winfrey Foundation where she was involved with supporting education program initiatives in South Africa and worked with the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. Prior to that role, she served as a Policy Consultant with Casey Family Programs where she focused on issues affecting youth and children in foster care. This was one of many consulting experiences with Norfles and Associates, LLC. However, a large portion of her policy experience in Washington, DC was as Special Assistant to the President of the Council for Opportunity in Education and Fellow in the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education where she advanced research on issues surrounding educational opportunity for low-income and first-generation potential college. More specifically, Dr. Norfles' research focused on the expansion of educational opportunity for low-income and first-generation college students both nationally and internationally to include undergraduate and graduate college persistence issues, technology use and access, student financial aid and general indicators of educational opportunity. Dr. Norfles has co-taught a South Africa study abroad course with Michigan State University and courses in educational foundations, leadership and supervision while at the George Washington University. She has presented on numerous national and international conferences, as well as authored various reports and publications. Dr. Norfles received her doctorate in Higher Education Administration in 2002 from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Natalie Pullaro is the Manager of Research and Policy Analysis at the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). She manages the annual Tuition Discounting Study in addition to several other projects including the Student Financial Services Benchmarking Report, Third-Party Payments, and Shared Services/Cloud Computing. Natalie is also a part-time Ph.D. student in the Higher Education program at the University of Maryland, College Park. Before coming to NACUBO in 2010, she worked for ACE's Center for Policy Analysis and the University System of Maryland. Prior to her career in higher education, she was an elementary teacher for three years in Plano, Texas. Natalie earned her BA and M.Ed. degrees in education from the University of Florida.
Alexandria Walton Radford is a Senior Research Associate in postsecondary education with MPR Associates, Inc., a consulting firm that conducts innovative research and develops practical tools to inform education policy and practice. Alexandria is now leading MPR's efforts in the development of the Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS) Longitudinal Study conducted by NCES. Most recently her research has explored college choice, persistence and attainment, subbaccalaureate students' labor market outcomes, and underrepresented students in STEM. Alexandria is the co-author of the book No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University.
Kenneth E. Redd was appointed Director of Research and Policy Analysis for the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) in September 2008. Previously, Ken served as director of research for the Council of Graduate Schools and served in a research capacity for a variety of other higher education organizations. Ken has a master's degree in public affairs from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor's degree in English and political science from Tufts University.
Deborah A. Santiago is co-founder and Vice President for Policy and Research at Excelencia in Education and has spent more than 15 years leading research and policy efforts from the community to national and federal levels to improve educational opportunities and success for all students. Among her experiences, Deborah has worked at the Congressional Research Service, The U.S. Department of Education, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, the ASPIRA Association, and the Los Angeles Alliance for Student Achievement. Her current research focuses on financial aid, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and effective institutional practices for student success in higher education. She has been cited in numerous publications for her work, including The Economist, the New York Times, the Washington Post, AP, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Deborah serves on the board of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the National Student Clearinghouse.
Barry W. Simmons Sr., a native of Southside Virginia, graduated from Elon University. His master's and doctorate are from UNC Greensboro with studies in higher education and public policy. As Director of University Scholarships of Financial Aid at Virginia Tech, the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Simmons oversees $359 million in assistance to more than 21,000 students and serves on the University Council on International Programs, Enrollment Management Committee, Undergraduate Admissions Advisory Group, McNair Scholars Advisory Committee, the Computer Requirements Steering Committee, as an academic coach for the local chapter of the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and was a charter member of the Multicultural Affairs Committee. He has held various enrollment management positions at Elon University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, St. Paul's College, Virginia Commonwealth University and as a private consultant and is recognized as an advocate of access to post high school educational opportunities and educational diversity. Simmons will complete his term as immediate past national chair of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) in July of 2011 representing 2,800 member institutions and approximately 18,000 financial aid administrators across the nation. Dr. Simmons was a member of the Virginia College Access Network Founding Steering Committee, served as its second president and continues to serve on the board of directors and serves on the board of Project Discovery, a state-wide high school dropout prevention program. He is a frequent speaker at state, regional and national conferences, has co-authored several NASFAA Monographs and has published in the Journal of Student Financial Aid. He has served on numerous NASFAA committees including terms as a member and as chair of the Research Committee and also acts as an institutional representative on the U. S. Department of Education's FAFSA Design Team. Simmons also serves in an advisory capacity to several Virginia state agencies.
Sean Simone currently serves as an Associate Research Scientist in the Postsecondary Longitudinal and Sample Studies program at the National Center for Education Statistics. He is responsible for the Postsecondary Education Transcript Study (PETS) and provides support to the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS), and the Baccalaureate and Beyond Study (B&B). Prior to joining NCES he served as an AIR/NCES Postdoctoral Policy Fellow and conducted a study on tuition pricing. Sean previously served as a research policy analyst at a state higher education association and has worked in various administrative positions at both public and private colleges and universities. Sean holds a Doctoral Degree in Education Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Master's degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the Ohio State University.
Chelsea Sims holds a B.A. in Communication and B.A. in Sociology from the University of Missouri (MU). Chelsea is a second year MCAC college adviser at Grandview High School in Kansas City. She is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and is a first-generation college student. While pursuing her degree, Chelsea was a part of Arts & Science Student Council, Black Programming Committee, and MU Black Pre-Law Student Association. She also worked with Academic Retention Services, mentoring other students and assisting with summer orientation for incoming students. After her service with MCAC, Chelsea plans to pursue a graduate degree in Student Affairs.
Watson Scott Swail is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Educational Policy Institute, a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to policy-based research on educational opportunity for all students. Dr. Swail has a very broad understanding of education. He served as a middle school teacher in Canada and the United States for seven years, while also becoming an expert in curriculum design and teacher professional development. He has worked on school reform initiatives and currently assists several school districts around the country with reforms designed to improve student persistence in middle and high school. During his doctoral program at The George Washington University, Dr. Swail developed the geometric framework for student retention in higher education, which provides an empirically-based model for understanding how students and institutions move toward their mutual and individual goals. This model is used widely around the world for strategic planning in higher education, and is described in his Jossey-Bass publication, Retaining Minority Students in Higher Education (2003). In 2006, Dr. Swail chaired the first annual International Conference on Student Success, and conducts the Retention 101 workshops each year. Prior to establishing EPI, Dr. Swail served as the Founding Director of the Pell Institute and Vice President of the Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington, DC. He previously served as senior policy analyst with SRI International, associate director for policy analysis with the College Board, and a research assistant at The McKenzie Group in Washington, DC. He is a former technology teacher in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Hampton, Virginia. In addition to his research and writing, Dr. Swail has taught educational research and statistics at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, where he received his doctorate in educational policy. He earned his Master's of Science from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and Bachelor's of Education from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Dr. Swail currently serves on the research advisory board of the National Action Council on Minorities in Engineering (NACME), the AVID Postsecondary Advisory Board, the Old Dominion University Darden College of Education Advisory Board, the Council for State Governments' National Advisory Council on Postsecondary Education Access, and the Board of Directors of St. Louis-based Student Resource Services. In 2009 he served on the Advisory Panel for the National Association for Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), and in 2007 was named a Fellow of the Darden College of Education at Old Dominion University for his "dedicated service and his outstanding contributions in education."
Amelia M. Topper has worked in the education sector for over 13 years as both an educator and researcher, and has been with JBL Associates, Inc. for over 7 years. Ms. Topper is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Arizona State University. She holds a Master's in Leadership in Teaching from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland; and a Bachelor's in the Philosophy and Classical Languages from St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland. Ms. Topper has experience working on studies for federal and state agencies and non-profit organizations. She currently works with 100 of the 174 colleges participating in Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count, and has authored and co-authored numerous analytical reports on the initiative-wide database. Topics of research include persistence and retention, financial aid policies, and distance and vocational education. Ms. Topper has experience using large-scale and complex data collections, particularly in the area of collecting student-level longitudinal data and the state and institutional-levels.
Cherelle Washington holds a B.A. in Communication from the University of Missouri (MU). She is from St. Louis, Missouri and is a first-generation college student. While at MU, Cherelle co-facilitated a Learning Strategies class required of all incoming freshmen. She also worked at the Academic Retention Services center, mentoring other college students and assisting with summer orientation for incoming students. Cherelle also worked in residence life and volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club and is a member of the honor society of the National Communication Association. Directly related to her role as a MCAC college adviser, Cherelle was a group leader for four years with the Wyman Center in St. Louis, a program designed to encourage and support young people in their pursuit of a higher education. At the Wyman Center, she worked with rising juniors and planned campus tours and advised students on FAFSA completion, financial aid, and college admissions applications.
Jeff Webster has worked for TG since 1986 and now holds the position of Assistant Vice-President for Research and Analytical Services. In this capacity, Jeff serves the research needs of the Texas student aid community, government officials, and legislative staff, as well as, TG's management. Jeff's area produces the annual State of Student Aid and Higher Education in Texas and other reference publications that inform student aid professionals and policymakers. He was the lead author of The Toughest Test: The Student Loan Liquidity Crisis of 2007-08 in Texas, and Ready, Willing, and Unable: How Financial Barriers Obstruct Bachelor-degree Attainment in Texas. Jeff has overseen numerous studies on student loan default, debt burden, and student retention. His area pioneered the use of predictive modeling to improve student loan default prevention efforts. He has made presentations to many groups including the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, College Board's Preparate: Educating Latino for the Future of America, SFARN, NASFAA, SWASFAA, SASFAA, TASFAA, NCHELP and TG's annual conferences. He has a bachelor's degree from Kenyon College and a master's degree from UT Austin's LBJ School of Public Policy.
Christina Chang Wei is a Senior Research Associate at MPR Associates, Inc., a consulting firm based in Berkeley, California that conducts innovative research and develops practical tools to inform education policy and practice. Over the last 10 years, she has authored or co-authored several reports for the National Center for Education Statistics, all of which have focused on postsecondary student financing and financial aid, including Persistence and Attainment of Beginning Students with Pell Grants, Trends in Undergraduate Student Borrowing II: Federal Student Loans in 1995-96, 1999-2000, and 2003-04, A Profile of Successful Pell Grant Recipients: Time to Bachelor's Degree and Early Graduate School Enrollment, and What is the Price of College? Total, Net, and Out-of-Pocket Prices in 2007-08, among others. She is the MPR Subcontract Director for the 2011-12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) survey. Prior to joining MPR, she was a Legislative Analyst in Student Financial Support for the University of California's Office of the President.
Julie White has been a student affairs professional for nearly 20 years. Through her work with students as they navigate educational institutions, she has come to realize first-hand the effects of policies on the lives of individual students. For the past five years, she has worked as Assistant Director of Student Services at the urban campus of Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York. This work with students, coupled with her doctoral studies in educational leadership at the Warner School of the University of Rochester, has deepened her commitment to students who have been underserved and overlooked by most public educational institutions and policies. Julie's areas of research include: financial aid policies and processes, community colleges, alcohol use, and queer communities. Her professional experience includes positions in: research and grants administration, women's centers, and health education. She is currently at work on her doctoral dissertation study of community college students' experiences with financial aid.
Jennifer Wine, Ph.D. is Director of Longitudinal Studies Program at RTI International. With over 20 years' experience in postsecondary education research, Dr. Wine has devoted the majority of her time at RTI to NCES postsecondary studies. She currently directs the 2011-12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, the 2008/09 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study, the 2004/09 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study, and the 2009 Postsecondary Education Transcript Study. Dr. Wine has extensive experience with the issues and challenges that can arise during large-scale, cross-sectional and longitudinal studies and transcript collections. Her survey design experience includes developing and testing self-administered, telephone, and in-person interviews and protocols, record abstraction forms, focus group protocols, mail surveys, and linked instruments for data collection from multiple sources. Dr. Wine holds a B.S. in psychology from Georgetown University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Jennie H. Woo, Ed.D. is a Senior Research Associate at MPR Assoc., Inc., a Berkeley consulting firm that conducts research to inform education policy and practice. Her research focuses on student financial aid, economics of higher education and issues relating education to the workplace. She has written reports under contract with the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) on various topics of higher education finance such as private borrowing and merit aid. She is also one of the principals involved in the derivation and analysis of data for the 2009 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. She conducted the analysis on education finance for the first publication of this survey which is now under review and advises in the preparation of the next follow-up survey in 2012. Prior to joining MPR, she was Senior Economist at EDFUND, a student loan guarantee agency where she also served on the Board of Directors. She has published papers on student debt, student loan default, and persistence in higher education, as well as developed financial forecasting models. Dr. Woo has a BA from Swarthmore College and an Ed.D. from Harvard University.
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