Ed Policy Associates
The Virginia Policy Partnership Collaborative (VPPC) connects UVA faculty and students with education policy makers to address pressing education problems in the Commonwealth through careful research. The VPPC sought out talented students who care deeply about issues of education and equity to be part of the inaugural 2020-21, Education Policy Associates (EPA) program. The EPA program is an opportunity for students who want training in education policy and opportunities to work on applied research projects with faculty and education policymakers. EPAs work closely with national experts in early childhood, K-12, higher ed, and workforce policy research by collaborating with UVA faculty. Throughout the program, Ed Policy Associates will gain applied research skills such as data management, analytic skills, and technical writing, while also have the opportunity to participate in an intensive Policy Lab course to collaboratively address policy questions identified by Virginia education leaders. Meet our Ed Policy Associates!
Fall 2020 Ed Policy Associates
Abby Rothenberg is a third year at UVA majoring in Youth and Social Innovation at the School of Education and Human Development. She is hoping to receive a Master's in Public Policy and pursue a career in Education Policy, focusing on equity and access in the education sphere. Outside of the classroom, Abby is a research assistant, School Student Ambassador, the Vice Chair of the Student Council Arts Committee, volunteers through Madison House teaching music lessons, and is involved in a cappella and theatre on grounds. Abby is beyond thrilled to be a part of the Education Policy Associates program and have the opportunity to learn about pressing educational challenges from leaders in the field.
Alex Pinckney is a first-year postgraduate MPP student from Peachtree City, Georgia. She recently graduated from the University of Georgia where she majored in Political Science. During undergrad, she participated in the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, which allowed her to participate in faculty-led research such as observing student mobility in public schools across the state of Georgia, analyzing the correlation between per-pupil expenditures and standardized test scores, and researching the impact of ecotourism on localism and sustainability in Costa Rica. Her proudest work is creating the first case-study of the desegregation of Fayette County Georgia public schools. After Batten, Alex hopes to obtain a PhD in Public Policy so she may continue to research how to improve educational experiences of all students in the United States.
Alexis Allen is a fourth-year student at the University of Virginia from Richmond, Virginia. Alexis is majoring in Youth and Social Innovation and on track to receive a Master’s degree in Leadership and Public Policy. She plans to use her degrees to work in the education policy field advocating for youth. Alexis hopes to one day serve as a policy analyst on topics that impact youth and disadvantaged or marginalized communities. At UVA, she is involved in a multitude of mentoring programs that give her the opportunity to engage within the Charlottesville community such as the College Mentors, Young Women Leaders Program and My Sister’s Keeper. During Alexis' free time she enjoys cooking, hosting game nights with friends and taking walks around the beautiful city of Charlottesville.
Alita Robinson is a rising third year hailing from Wilmington, Delaware. She currently studies Youth & Social Innovation and African American Studies. In studying this beautiful pair she is fueled with passion in the fight for equitable education and making a difference in the lives of others. As a first-generation college student, Alita's time is spent making UVA home, and she has joined many organizations on Grounds such as Virginia’s Women Rugby, Virginia Ambassadors, Madison House volunteering and UBLSA an organization for Black Undergrads interested in pursing a career in Law. Alita's interest of Education policy aligns perfectly and she is excited to be joining this program. She will be working with Dr. Amanda Williford.
Amanda Rosensky is currently in the 2nd year of her Master of Public Policy degree at UVA's Batten School. Prior to pursuing her graduate degree, Amanda received her B.A. in Politics & International Affairs and History from Wake Forest University. She then served as an AmeriCorps VISTA, focusing on program evaluation and community partnership development. Since coming to UVA, she has worked as a research assistant for the Center for Effective Lawmaking and this past summer she interned with a cross-disciplinary research team seeking to model the spread of COVID-19 in refugee camps. Amanda's primarily policy interest is expanding early childhood education opportunities and she looks forward to working with Dr. Daphna Bassok on the Study of Early Education through Partnerships.
Domenick E. Bailey is a third-year Echols and University Achievement Award scholar at the University of Virginia. In the College of Arts and Sciences, he is a pre-law student studying sociology and psychology. He is particularly passionate about analyzing issues of race and equity, specifically within public governance and education. At the heart of this interest is the goal of informing just policy recommendations and future legal advocacy in those areas.
Harini Peri is a third-year undergraduate student double majoring in Public Policy & Leadership in the Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy and Economics in the College with a minor in Psychology. Before joining Ed Policy Works, Harini has worked with CapitolWorks in conducting research and advocating for legislation surrounding the need for more trauma-informed classrooms for special-needs children. She is currently working with Dr. Anita McGinty in projects related to the PALS statewide early literacy screening initiative. Harini also believes in the importance of quality environments for children's language and literacy development, and she is passionate about examining how research-based programs serving low-income children translate into applied practice.
Jayla Hart (she/her/hers pronouns) is a rising third year from Las Vegas, NV, currently studying Political Psychology with a minor in Global Studies in Education. Around Grounds, her most active involvements include serving as a Senior Resident for Housing & Residence Life, working with Flux Poetry & Spoken Word, and being the Vice President for Third Year Council, Class of 2022. Jayla's passion for education equity led her to the Virginia Policy Partnership Collaborative and she is immensely thrilled to be working with Dr. Amanda Williford for the upcoming school year! She will be contributing to both the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program and Advancing Effective Interactions and Instruction projects.
Elizabeth Padhi is a first-year MPP student at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. After earning her B.S. from Texas A&M University in 2012, Elizabeth taught junior high science for 8 years. Her passion for creating innovative, thought-provoking lessons led to her becoming a lead curriculum writer for her district and her school’s science department chair. In 2018, Elizabeth was named the Secondary Teacher of the Year for her school district. Elizabeth’s research interests include teacher retention and mental health.
Logan K. Botts is a Class of 2021 history major in the College of Arts and Sciences and a first-year Master of Public Policy Candidate at the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. While in high school, Logan completed advanced studies and received her Associate Degree from the George Washington University. A native of Washington, D.C., Logan is passionate about reducing inequities in public education, with a particular interest in the intersection between race and socioeconomic status. Logan is the co-director of Reflections: Oral Histories at UVA and is a member of the University Guide Service. Logan’s professional objective is to return to D.C. to develop policy that promotes educational equity.
Meghan Clancy is a second-year MPP candidate from Portland, Maine. As a first-generation college student and former Pre-kindergarten teacher Meghan witnessed how inequalities in access shape early learning experiences and through coursework, gained a deeper understanding of how these early disparities inform and alter the trajectory of one’s future. These experiences shape her passion for policy at the intersection of education and social equity. This past summer Meghan interned at the Postsecondary National Policy Institute where she gained experience in federal higher education policy. After Batten, Meghan seeks to pursue a career in education policy in public service or a non-profit that focuses on social equity in terms of both access, opportunity, and improving necessary supports for completion.
Parnia Ashari is a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Psychology at the University of Virginia. Coming from a multicultural background, Parnia is very interested in the research areas of education policy, developmental psychology, and school psychology, and how intersectional identities can shape multicultural children's and adolescents’ performance in schools and institutions of higher education. Last year, she worked as a leadership intern at UVA’s Multicultural Student Center, where she worked with inspiring students who were also passionate about the experiences of multicultural students at UVA. As an ED policy associate this school year, Parnia is very excited to work with Dr. Amanda Williford on the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program and the Advancing Effective Interactions and Instructions initiative.
Sarah Kiscaden is an undergraduate student in her fourth year at the University of Virginia. She is pursuing a B.S. Ed in Youth and Social Innovation from the School of Education and Human Development as well as a B.A. in Spanish from the College of Arts and Sciences. During her time at UVA, Sarah has held leadership positions and participated in several extracurricular activities, including as a General Manager for College Mentors for Kids, a tutor for Latinx and Migrant Aid, and an assistant teacher at El Pilar Charter School during her semester in Valencia, Spain. Sarah joined EdPolicyWorks as a Research Assistant in the summer of 2019 and primarily works with studies of early childhood education in Louisiana and Virginia.
Teka Lenahan is a rising second-year MPP student at the Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy. Teka's concentration during this degree will be in education policy as well as economic development. Although he was born in Ethiopia, Teka has spent much of his life in Japan and America. Teka's goal is to pursue a PhD in economics where he will focus on issues of labor and education with an eye for addressing issues facing marginalized communities.
Todd Hall is a first-year student in the Education Policy PhD/MPP program with the School of Education and Human Development and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. After earning a BA in Political Economy from Williams College, Todd joined the research network J-PAL North America. There he provided technical assistance to policymakers seeking to launch randomized evaluations and organized an education technology conference. Most recently, Todd worked for the nonprofit ed-tech platform Empatico, analyzing data and scaling user support. Todd's research interests revolve around teacher quality and education technology, especially in relation to disadvantaged communities.