Virginia Education Science Training (VEST) Program for Post-Doctoral Fellows


The VEST post-doctoral training program offers training experience in education science. VEST fellows receive three core experiences:

  • Strong mentoring with a senior investigator focused on the demanding and technical aspects of producing high quality scholarship (theory, design, intervention development, use of rigorous methods, writing, etc.). Trainees engage in a mentored, collaborative program of research where they formulate research questions, select research designs, implement research studies, collaborate with district partners, analyze data, write papers, and present findings.
  • Immersion in an intellectually challenging and scientifically rigorous community of scholarship. Opportunities include engagement in work-in-progress meetings with faculty, other post-docs and students; involvement in specialized training institutes and courses; self-evaluation processes to align training experiences and career goals; and involvement with visiting scholars.
  • Engagement in a research-practice partnership with state departments of education and/or school districts.

All the spots in the FY2017 Post-doc grant have been filled.

Current Fellows

Shereen El Mallah

Shereen El Mallah’s research endeavors have focused broadly on advancing the science and practice of social emotional learning by addressing the developmental and sociocultural factors that may contribute to the feasibility, receptiveness, and sustainability of school-based programs.  Collaborating primarily with underserved school districts, most of her work has relied on participatory action research (PAR) approaches and mixed methods evaluation to facilitate the process of translating generated evidence into practice by capitalizing on the knowledge and experience brought forth by both the researchers and stakeholders.

Laura Bellows

Laura Bellows is a social policy scholar who primarily focuses on how policy creates, or eases, different forms of instability. She is currently working on a variety of topics, including the effects of immigration enforcement on child outcomes; turnover among early educators; and the impacts of the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic on early education. She received her PhD in Public Policy from Duke University, her MPA from Indiana University-Bloomington, and her BA in History and English from Rice University. https://www.laura-bellows.com/

Anna Shapiro

Anna Shapiro is an incoming IES fellow beginning August 2020. Her research interests include universal preschool programs, special education policies that impact young children, issues in special education measurement, and the effects of early intervention for children with or at risk for developing disabilities. She received her PhD in Educational Policy, Leadership and Innovation at the University of Michigan, her AM in Urban Education Policy from Brown University and her BA in French and Educational Studies from Emory University.

Previous Fellows

Tutrang Nguyen
New position - Human Services Researcher at Mathematica in Oakland, CA.

Krystal Thomas
New position - Education Researcher at SRI in Arlington, VA.

Associated Faculty

Associated Staff