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Graduate Students at EdPolicyWorks

Student Community

EdPolicyWorks is committed to creating a community of educational policy researchers. We value mentorship and support our students in their professional development. Our faculty and students met socially a couple times a year to celebrate the success of the program. Our students also regularly support each other socially, and work within and across cohorts.





Student-Faculty Profiles

Learn more about how our faculty and student partner together on research and projects.


Current EdPolicyWorks Students

Veronica Katz -

Veronica Katz is a fifth-year doctoral student in Education Policy. Originally from the West Coast, Veronica received her undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and Spanish from Washington University in St. Louis. Upon graduation, Veronica headed back west to join Teach for America in Los Angeles. She taught sixth grade for two years and also received her Master’s Degree in Education from Loyola Marymount University. Prior to moving to Charlottesville, Veronica was teaching second grade at a private school in Santa Monica, California. Having sampled public and private education, Veronica felt compelled to pursue a Ph.D. in Education Policy in order to improve the state of public schools. Her primary research interests dwell in the area of teacher quality and teacher retention, specifically in urban schools. Veronica is an avid yogi and loves to spend her spare time traveling with her husband, Dan.

Aliza Husain -

Aliza Husain is a third-year IES pre-doctoral fellow in the Education Policy program at the Curry School of Education. She recently earned her M.P.P from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. After completing her primary education in Karachi, Pakistan, Aliza moved to California to pursue an undergraduate degree from Occidental College. Her B.A. in Economics, with an emphasis in Mathematics and Education, exposed her to the political climate surrounding education reform in the United States. A year as a teacher at a low-income charter school in the San Francisco Bay Area provided her greater insights into factors affecting teachers’ employment decisions, further piquing her interest in education policy. Her current research interests include K-12 teacher retention and evaluation, as well as school leadership.

Katharine Meyer -

Katharine Meyer is an IES pre-doctoral fellow in Education Policy studies at the Curry School of Education. She also holds a BA in Government, an MEd in Research, Statistics, and Evaluation, and an MPP from the University. Prior to starting her doctoral studies, she worked in higher education program development and evaluation and communications at UVA. She is interested in the behavioral, informational, and psychological barriers to low-income students' academic success. Her current work focuses on the transition from high school to college and postsecondary persistence.

Jessalynn James -

Jessalynn James fellow is a second-year pre-doctoral fellow in Education Policy at the Curry School of Education. Before enrolling at UVA, she served as the program manager for assessment reporting and data management at the Council for Aid to Education in New York City, where she oversaw all assessment-related data and the development of institution and student score reports for the Collegiate Learning Assessment and its middle and high school equivalent, the College and Work Readiness Assessment. She also managed the creation and implementation of longitudinal surveys to track student outcomes following graduation from high school and college. Jessalynn also served for several semesters as an adjunct at Barnard College, co-teaching an introductory course in statistics for psychology.

Jessalynn has a B.S. from the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University, and an M.P.A. with a concentration in policy analysis and evaluation from the Baruch College School of Public Affairs with the City University of New York.

Preston Magouirk -

Preston Magouirk is a Ph.D student in Education Policy. He earned a B.A. in History from Tulane University in 2011 and an M.P.P. from Vanderbilt University in 2015. A former elementary school teacher in South Louisiana, Preston is interested in examining questions of equity in early educational experiences for low-income students. 


Fran Murphy -

Sponsored by the US Army, Fran Murphy is a third-year Education Policy graduate student at the University of Virginia (UVa).  Fran graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 2002 and is a career Army officer who has served multiple combat tours in the Middle East.  He completed an MBA at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and an M.A. in Economics at UVa.    Prior to starting his studies at UVa, Fran served as a research analyst at the Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis (OEMA) and taught courses in undergraduate economics at West Point.  He is currently working with Professor Ben Castleman on projects related to soldiers, their families, and educational decision-making.  Fran’s general research interests are in military manpower, higher education, and social interaction.  He and his wife Hillary have a daughter, Emmy Lou.

Emily Wiseman -

Emily Wiseman is an IES pre-doctoral fellow in the Education Policy program at the Curry School of Education. She is also completing a Master of Public Policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. She graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College and earned her M.S.Ed. in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania while teaching at a turnaround charter school. After five years of teaching elementary and middle school in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., her areas of interest include teacher training, evaluation, and retention policies, particularly in high-poverty schools.  

Kylie LeBlanc -

Kylie LeBlanc is an IES pre-doctoral fellow and a student in the dual PhD/MPP Education Policy program in the Curry School of Education the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at UVA. Originally from Texas, Kylie holds an undergraduate degree in political science from Southwestern University and a post-baccalaureate degree in mathematics from Northwestern University. Before joining Ed Policy Works, Kylie worked as a 7th grade teacher in rural Arkansas, as an evaluator for an after-school program in Chicago, and as a job coach for students with disabilities in Austin. Kylie is passionate about improving both early childhood education and the methodologies we use to evaluate the efficacy of educational policies and initiatives.

Justin Doromal -

Justin B. Doromal is a IES pre-doctoral fellow in Education Policy at the Curry School of Education, and is concurrently completing a Master of Public Policy from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He holds a BA in Mathematics from the University of South Florida, and an MEd in Research, Statistics, and Evaluation from the University of Virginia. Prior to his MPP/PhD studies he tutored young children in math and reading, and more recently he served as research staff at CASTL.

Justin currently works with Dr. Daphna Bassok and Dr. Vivian Wong on examining access to safe and high-quality child care programs in North Carolina. Globally, he is interested in how early childhood policy shapes children’s educational trajectories and families’ social well-being.

Anandita Krishnamachari -

Anandita Krishnamachari is a doctoral student in the Research, Statistics and Evaluation program at the Curry School of Education. Before coming to Curry, she worked as a Data and Policy Fellow at Achievement First, a charter management organization that operates a network of 30 schools in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. She handled their accountability, minimizing distraction at the school level in the reporting process. She earned her B.A in Sociology from the University of Madras in 2013, India and her M.S in Social Policy from the School of Social Policy and Practice from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014. Anandita's current research interests include early childhood education issues, teacher evaluation systems and program evaluation.

Denise Deutschlander -

Denise Deutschlander is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology and an Institute of Education Sciences pre-doctoral fellow in the Curry School’s Education Policy Program. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington and a Master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Vienna, Austria.

Denise works with Josipa Roksa in the Sociology Department and Ben Castleman in the Curry School. Her research investigates the complex role family plays in postsecondary educational attainment for students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, including first-generation and low-income students.

Zach Sullivan -

Zach Sullivan is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Economics. He received a B.S in Economics from Michigan State University in 2012 and a M.A. in Economics from the University of Virginia in 2014. Zach is currently working with Professors Sarah Turner and Ben Castleman on projects related to access to higher education.  His research interests include the effect of financial aid and information interventions on student’s investment in higher education. 


Aaron Phipps -

Aaron Phipps is a two-year VEST fellow and a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Economics at the University of Virginia. He received a B.S. in Economics and Statistics with Honors from Brigham Young University in 2010. He worked in the Utah Governor’s Office of Management and Budget before entering the Ph.D. program at the University. He spent several years working as a volunteer aid in Argentina, which influenced his decision to specialize in the economics of education to address growing education inequalities in the U.S. He now works with Sarah Turner, James Wyckoff, and William Johnson studying teacher labor markets and human capital development in higher education.

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