Virginia Education Science Training (VEST) Predoctoral Fellowships
What is VEST?
The Virginia Education Science Training (VEST) predoctoral fellowship program provides intensive research training in education sciences. VEST integrates the use of theoretical models of causal inference from various sciences (e.g., psychology, economics, biostatistics) with research designs, analytic techniques and methods that support causal inferences in studies of school, classroom and program effects.
More specifically, training applies rigorous methods to three substantive research topics identified by IES: a) teacher quality, b) early childhood, and c) social and behavioral contexts for academic learning. Conceptual and methodological emphases in the core curriculum ensure students are proficient in developing and testing research hypotheses through research designs and through experimental and quasi-experimental statistical procedures that support causal inferences.
Fellowship Details & Benefits
VEST fellows participate in an intensive 20 hr/wk research apprenticeship under multiple mentors and advisors. Please see examples of research opportunities in Education Policy and Educational Psychology-Applied Developmental Science. Fellows must complete an education-based dissertation.
All VEST fellows participate in the Curry Research Lectureship series (including a proseminar course) and have an opportunity to interact individually with the top researchers in the field of education.
Our Fellows & Alumni
Learn more about our current 4-Year and 2-Year fellows and affiliate fellows participating in VEST and their student community at U.Va. With over 100 alumni across education, economics, sociology, and psychology departments at U.Va, VEST has produced highly trained professionals who hold positions from postdoctoral scientists to education statisticians to assistant professors. Learn more about our VEST Alumni and what they are saying about the fellowship program through our Question & Answer article series.
Current and past fellows like us on Facebook.
How to Apply
Applicants to the Curry School of Education and Human Development's Ph.D programs, Education Policy and Educational Psychology-Applied Developmental Science, are automatically considered for Four-Year VEST Fellowships. Visit the Curry School's admissions website for more details on deadlines and requirements.
In addition, U.Va. doctoral students from other social science graduate programs may apply for Two-Year VEST Fellowships, to begin during the 3rd year or later of their PhD program. Applications for the VEST 2-yr program are run separately from the Curry School admissions and typically announced in November of each year with an application deadline around February 1st. Email CurryVEST@virginia.edu for more details.
Faculty affiliates serve as mentors and co-mentors to our fellows. Four-Year Fellows in Curry Ph.D programs have a primary mentor from Curry and in their 3rd year, a co-mentor from another discipline. Two-Year fellows from other disciplines continue to work with their primary advisor from their home department and work with a Curry co-mentor as well.
Our faculty affiliates engage in training experiences that offer extensive expertise including econometric models of teacher quality, the RCT design and analysis, and the design and evaluation of professional development supports for teachers and their effects on student learning.
The Directors & Steering Committee:
The Admissions and Program Progress Committee:
- Bob Pianta, Director
- Sara Rimm-Kaufman, Associate Director
- Jim Wyckoff, Associate Director
- Joanna Lee Williams, Education
- Josipa Roksa, Sociology
- Sarah Turner, Economics and Education
- Dan Willingham, Psychology
Faculty Affiliates at U.Va. are from the College of Arts & Sciences and Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy:
- Allen, Joseph, Psychology
- Friedberg, Leora, Economics
- Hurd, Noelle, Psychology
- Lillard, Angeline, Psychology
- Reppucci, Dick, Psychology
- Ruhm, Chris, Public Policy & Economics
- von Oetzen, Timo, Psychology
- Willingham, Dan, Psychology
- Wilson, Melvin, Psychology
The Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) is an intensive 8-week internship program at the Curry School of Education and Human Development that is affiliated with the VEST program. Our faculty and fellows mentor undergraduate interns during the summer as we help train the next generation of educational researchers.
The Curry School of Education and Human Development received funding from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education in 2004 to implement a Fellowship Program in the Education Sciences. Additional grants were awarded in 2009 and 2014 that has allowed the Curry School to build upon the existing Fellowship program and provide interdisciplinary training to students. Other fellows in the program are supported by other research grants and funding from the Curry School.
- Student Spotlight: Christina Mulcahy Discusses Her Early Math Work and Mentoring Experience at Curry
- VEST Alumna Uses Curry Training as Springboard for Future Work with Communities of Color
- Two SURP Interns Discover Their Passion for Research Through Support at Curry
- New Career Options Open Up for Two SURP Interns While at Curry This Summer
- Curry Alumna Anne Cash on Her Passion for Teacher Training and Current Research
- Student Spotlight: Two Ed Policy Students Reflect on the MPP/PhD Dual Degree Program
- Class of 2016: Undergrad Researcher Returns for Curry Ph.D.
- Ed Policy Ph.D Alumna Reflects on Her Time at Curry and in the MPP Dual Degree Program
- Ed Policy Graduate Student Joins AEI’s 2016 Academy on Education Policy
- Student Profile: Francisca Romo Aims to Return to Chile and Make a Difference
- Fitzpatrick Answers Questions on her VEST Experience at Curry and U.Va. Economics Department
- Leslie Booren Named 2015 Outstanding Curry Staff Member
- Alumnus Myles Durkee Discusses His Research on the Racial Experiences of Minority Students
- Student Spotlight: Katherine Ross Creates a Social Emotional and Mindfulness Research Agenda
- Ed Policy Grad Student Shares His APPAM Research Conference Experiences
- Ed Policy Student Wins AERA-MET Dissertation Fellowship to Study Changes in Teaching Practice
- Student Profile: Carol Paxton Focuses on What Teachers Need to be Successful
- Student Profile: Amy Roberts Wants Her Research to Impact Teachers and Policy Makers
- Student Spotlight: Scott Latham Broadens His Interests in Education Policy at U.Va.
- Curry School Students and Faculty Have Strong Showing at Annual Education Research Conference
- Holland Banse wants to bridge the gap between research and practice
- CASTL’s Jeff Kosovich Publishes on Carnegie Commons Blog
- Student Profile: Helyn Kim Returns to Curry to Focus on Researching Early Foundational Skills
- Student Profile: Micela Leis Wants Every Child to Feel Excited About Going to School
- Student Spotlight: Mindy Adnot Tackles Tough Teacher Evaluation Issues
- Alumna Laura Brock Reflects on her Research Training at Curry
- EdPolicyWorks Profiles Prof. Gibbs and Economics Graduate Student Zagardo
- Two SURP Interns Describe Their Preparation for Graduate School
- Curry Resources and Support are Key for Two SURP Interns
- Teamwork is the Foundation for Graduate School for Two SURP Interns
- Mentoring Research and Being Mentored is Top Priority for Two SURP Interns
- Class of 2014: Manuela Determined to Improve Education Everywhere
- Ed Policy Student Lands AERA Grant to Study Changes in School Readiness
- Terri Sabol Wants to Help Nation's Neediest Children Through Research and Policy
- Members from VEST participate in key roles at CRC
- Curry Faculty and Students Head to AERA
- LoCasale-Crouch Discusses VEST and Why She Stayed at the Curry School
- Dunlop Answers Questions on her VEST Experience at Curry and U.Va. Economics Department
- Prof. Castleman Enhances the Mentorship Model at EdPolicyWorks
- VEST Alumna, Wei-Bing Chen, Answers Questions on her Curry Experience
- Q&A: Alumna Reflects on Key Research Skills Gained at Curry
- Student Spotlight: Chelsea Duran Tackles Issues of Inequity and Discusses How to Approach Educational Research in the Real-World
- Ed Policy Students Inducted into Pi Alpha Alpha Through Work in Curry, Batten Dual Degree Program
- Student Spotlight: Triple ’Hoo Shares Thoughts on Ed Policy Research and Earning Her 4th UVA Degree
- Ed Policy Student Wins Bankard Fellowship to Study Principal Effectiveness
- Student Spotlight: Ed Policy Doctoral Candidate Starts as a Student Teacher, Now Studies Policies to Support Teachers' Development
- Student Spotlight: Ed Psych Doctoral Candidate Returns to UVA after a Career in Law to Study Race and Diversity
Daphna Bassok Associate Professor, Associate Director, EdPolicyWorksCatherine P. Bradshaw Professor, Associate Dean for Research & Faculty DevelopmentBenjamin L. Castleman Associate Professor of Education and Public Policy, Director, Nudge4 Solutions LabNancy L. Deutsch Professor, Director of Youth-NexJason T. Downer Professor of Education, Director, CASTL , Program Area Director, Clinical and School PsychologyDavid W. Grissmer Research ProfessorBridget K. Hamre Research Associate Professor and Associate Director of CASTLLaVae M. Hoffman Associate ProfessorChris S. Hulleman Associate ProfessorTimothy R. Konold Professor , Research, Statistics, and Evaluation Program CoordinatorJoanna Lee Williams Associate ProfessorJennifer LoCasale-Crouch Research Associate ProfessorLuke C. Miller Research Assistant ProfessorNatalia Palacios Associate ProfessorRobert C. Pianta Dean , Novartis Professor of Education, Founding Director, Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and LearningBrian Pusser Associate ProfessorJulia Jackson Cohen Assistant ProfessorSara Rimm-Kaufman ProfessorJosipa Roksa ProfessorSarah E. Turner University Professor, Economics & Education , Associate Director, EdPolicyWorksJessica E. Whittaker Research Assistant ProfessorAmanda P. Williford Research Associate ProfessorVivian Wong Assistant ProfessorJames H. Wyckoff Professor, Director, EdPolicyWorksLeslie M. Booren Managing Director