Education Policy Students Honored for Dissertation Work


Audrey Breen

Kylie Anglin and Justin Doromal, both Ph.D. students in the Curry School of Education and Human Development, are the recipients of national dissertation fellowships to support their research.

Kylie Anglin and Justin Doromal, both Ph.D. students in the Curry School of Education and Human Development, are the recipients of national dissertation fellowships to support their research.

Anglin, a Ph.D. student in education policy, was one of 35 students nationally awarded the National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship, a highly competitive program. The fellowship, which comes with $27,500 of funding, was created to support a new generation of scholars doing work to improve education.

Anglin’s research is focused on developing and using data science approaches to examine variations in how programs are implemented, as well as the impact of implementation variation on student outcomes.

Prior to her graduate work, Anglin worked as a literacy teacher in rural Arkansas, as an evaluator for an after-school program in Evanston, Illinois, and as a job coach for adult students in a suburb of Austin, Texas. Each of these schools served students who face structural disadvantages, but within vastly different labor markets and politics, and with varying access to resources.

“To understand what works where, evaluators need to incorporate studies of implementation. My work aims to make that process easier and more reliable,” Anglin said.

Her fellowship will support the development of this work.

“I am thrilled to be selected as an NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellow,” Anglin said. “The fellowship not only provides resources to strengthen my research, but it also provides mentorship and membership in a community of education scholars.”

Vivian Wong, associate professor at the Curry School and faculty affiliate of the EdPolicyWorks research center, serves as Anglin’s faculty advisor.

“The Spencer Dissertation Fellowship program provides an opportunity for Kylie Anglin to continue to develop, expand, and disseminate her innovative research on using machine learning techniques to understand how variations in policy and intervention implementations relate to improvements in student outcomes,” Wong said. “We are excited to see the important contributions to education research that will result from Kylie’s work!”

Justin Doromal, a Ph. D student in education policy, has been awarded both the Minority Dissertation Fellowship from the America Education Research Association (AERA) and the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM) 2020 Equity and Inclusion Fellowship.

Both of these awards support his dissertation research which broadly focuses on policy and programmatic factors that promote the continuity—or, in some cases, exacerbate disruption—in young children's early educational experiences. Doromal is especially interested in how the organizational challenges facing early childhood programs ultimately influence the stability of high-quality experiences provided to children in these settings—for example, through addressing issues of teacher retention and compensation.

The AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship aims “to advance education research by outstanding minority graduate students, and to improve the quality and diversity of university faculties.”

The APPAM Equity and Inclusion Fellowship aims to introduce students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds to the work of public policy at support their engagement with AAPM, including attending the Annual Fall Research Conference.

“I am excited to be recognized through the AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship and the APPAM Equity & Inclusion Fellowship given their initiatives to enhance diversity in academia and in policy,” Doromal said. “In my time at UVA, I have been regularly involved in several initiatives that mentor students from underrepresented student populations in higher education, including the Summer Undergraduate Research Program. I believe this support and mentoring, at all levels, is important to ensure we have diverse scholarship and perspectives in academia, and I am grateful that organizations like AERA and APPAM are committed to provide similar support for both the research of minority graduate students as well as their development as future scholars.”

Doromal’s faculty advisor is Daphna Bassok, associate professor and associate director of EdPolicyWorks.

“I have been so impressed with Justin, his timely work on the early childhood workforce, and his commitment to doing his research in collaboration with policy makers and practitioners,” Bassok said. “I’m thrilled to see him recognized by AERA and APPAM.  Both offer incredible opportunities for promising early career scholars like Justin.

Both Doromal and Anglin are also recipients of the Curry School’s Walter Eugene Campbell Scholarship. The Campbell Scholarship is given to a graduate student committed to a career in educational leadership and policy studies, with a successful record of academic achievement, and evidence of leadership within the program.