Current Fellows


Profile photo: Asher

Asher, Michael (Psychology )
Research interests: Classroom interventions; Student motivation and interest; Self-regulated learning; STEM education; Mathematical cognition; Teacher training; Educational equity.

Bio: Michael graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Duke University in 2013. Michael then joined Teach for America and earned a Masters degree in Special Education from Hunter College while teaching in the South Bronx in New York City. For four years Michael taught a mixture of high school math, computer science, and AP psychology before enrolling at UW-Madison.


Bartel, Anna (Psychology)Profile photo: Bartel
Research interests: Mathematical cognition; syntactic structure of algebraic word problems; use of graphics to facilitate or hinder comprehension of math problems; use of grounded and abstract representations in teaching statistics; education policy

Bio: Anna received her BA from California State University, Chico, graduating with honors in Psychology, and Child Development. She also earned her MA from California State University, Chico, graduating with distinction in Psychological Science. Prior to UW Madison, Anna worked at CSU Chico’s Child Development Lab, taught undergraduate statistics at CSU, Chico, and was a statistical analyst at a non-profit organization that provided support to adults with developmental disabilities.


Cooper Borkenhagen, Matthew (Psychology)Profile Photo: Cooper Borkenhagen
Research Interests: Language in reading, writing and mathematical cognition and performance, in both typically and atypically developing children.

Bio: Matt received a BA in Linguistics and Literature from UC Santa Cruz, an MA in Linguistics from San Francisco State University, and an MA in Education from San Jose State University. Prior to coming to the Department of Psychology at UW-Madison, he was an elementary school teacher in California, specializing in language and math instruction for children with learning differences such as dyslexia and dyscalculia.

Corral, Daniel (Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis)Profile Photo: Corral
Research Interests: Daniel’s research agenda centers on how race and class intersect to shape the experiences of Latinx college students. He is also interested in how Minority Serving Institutions support historically underrepresented populations.

Bio: Daniel graduated in 2015 with a BA in secondary education and history from Beloit College. He has worked in multiple capacities in both K-12 and higher education settings. Daniel is originally from Chicago, Illinois.


Davis, Ja'Dell (Sociology)Profile Photo: Davis
Research interests: Race and ethnicity, community-based educational spaces, student transitions from high school to college, race and higher education, teacher education/training programs

Bio: Ja'Dell earned her BA in History and Educational Studies at Swarthmore College, and her M.S.Ed from The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Prior to joining the Sociology Department, Ja'Dell taught high school social studies in the Philadelphia public school system, and created and implemented educational enrichment and college access programs in Chester, PA and New York City.


Donovan, Andrea M. (Psychology)Profile Photo: Donovan
Research interests: Andrea is interested in cognitive development and mathematical learning in children. Her current research investigates the role of manipulatives in learning as well as children’s communication of knowledge.

Bio: Andrea earned her BA from University of Wisconsin-Madison, graduating with distinction in Psychology.


Frank, Tora (Social Welfare)Profile Photo: Frank
Research interests: Educational attainment of low-income students; transition to, and persistence in, postsecondary education; program evaluation

Bio: Tora has a BA in English Literature and a Master of Public Affairs, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before beginning her graduate studies, Tora served as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, helping to prepare low income students for postsecondary education. She also spent 5 years conducting evaluations of educational programs in her capacity as a research associate with a private consulting firm.


Hall, Garret (Educational Psychology)Profile Photo: Hall
Research interests: Mathematics achievement of linguistically diverse students; academic intervention design, implementation, and evaluation; educational measurement and assessment

Bio: Garret graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2015 with a B.A. in Psychology and English Studies.


Herder, Tiffany (Educational Psychology)
Research Interests: Complex Thinking; STEM Learning; Game-Based Learning; Online Learning; Pedagogical Authoring; Learning Analytics

Bio: Tiffany Herder is a PhD student in the Learning Sciences area. Prior to attending UW Madison, she worked in curriculum and instructional design. Tiffany is a research assistant in the Epistemic Games Group. She studies how teachers customize immersive learning environments to create authentic STEM learning experiences.


Hecht, Cameron (Psychology)Profile Photo: Hecht
Research interests: Academic motivation, classroom based interventions, achievement gaps, subjective task value, identity, student interest

Bio: Cameron graduated from the University of Vermont in 2012 and received his MA in the social sciences from the University of Chicago in 2013. He then worked as a research assistant collecting data on elementary school students’ spatial and mathematical cognition for one year prior to attending UW-Madison.


Hirschl, Noah (Sociology)Profile Photo: Hirschl
Research Interests: Educational attainment and stratification over the life course, socioeconomic inequality and childhood achievement, and higher education.

Bio: Noah studied Development Sociology at Cornell University and graduated with a B.S. in 2014. His research before coming to UW-Madison has focused on US post-secondary educational inequality as well as international development issues in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.


Kim-Michel, HeeJin (Social Work)Profile Photo: Kim-Michel
Research Interests: Health and education outcomes of the child protective services (CPS) population, trauma-informed care, and social welfare policy.

Bio: HeeJin served as a technical lead and data analyst at the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) since August 2015. Her projects included analytics of re-referrals, examining outcomes of Wisconsin's out-of-home care (OHC) population, and improving services for children with disabilities. Prior to joining DCF, HeeJin was an Associate Researcher at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research where she joined in 2011 after receiving both her BA in Education (2010) and MA in Urban Education Policy (2011) from Brown University.


Lor, Na (Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis)
Research Interests: Higher education attainment among non-dominant students, retention, attrition, culture, identity, culturally relevant pedagogy in higher education, ethnic studies, community based learning, community based research.

Bio: Na holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in Educational Policy and a MS in Global Higher Education from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Prior to graduate school, she led international service learning trips for youth in rural Ecuador and she taught elementary English in South Korea. Na is alsoa Research Associate with the Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory.


Marifian, Elise (Economics)Profile Photo: Marifian
Research Interests: Issues of educational inequality and education of disadvantaged students, particularly at the early childhood, elementary, and secondary levels, market for education under privatization and public school choice regimes; Teacher quality, incentives, and labor markets; The political economy of school administrations (superintendents, principals, and school boards); Peer effects, neighborhood effects, and diversity in education; and gendered and racial dimensions of U.S. student educational paths in STEM.

Bio: Elise is interested in economic research related to human capital accumulation, including education, poverty, and inequality. Her fields of interest are labor economics, public economics, industrial organization, market design, and econometrics. Before arriving at UW-Madison, Ms. Marifian earned a Master's of Arts in economics and education from Columbia University. Prior to this, she worked as an economic research associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College, majoring in Economics and Spanish.


Menendez, David (Psychology)Profile Photo: Menendez
Research Interests: Science education, biological knowledge, learning and cognitive development, visual representations.

Bio: David received AA from Miami Dade College, and a BA with honors in Psychology from UW-Madison


Nemykina, Yuliya (Sociology)Profile Photo: Nemykina
Research Interests:Secondary and higher education; transitions into college and into the workforce; immigrant populations; the effects of non-classroom experiences on educational attainment

Bio: Yuliya graduated from Northwestern University in 2014 with a BS in Journalism and a BA in Sociology. Her research before coming to UW-Madison focused on the STEM interest gap between 1.5 and 2nd generation immigrants. She spent two years teaching elementary and junior high school English in Sado, Japan.


Premo, Elizabeth (School of Social Work)Profile Photo: Premo
Research Interests: Impact of poverty on child development and family well-being; disparities in school readiness; early childhood education; evaluation of social policies and programs

Bio: Liz graduated with distinction from UW-Madison in 2014 with a B.S. in Psychology and a certificate in Education & Educational Services. Prior to graduate school, Liz was a research coordinator for a grant investigating language development in toddlers. Additionally, she has extensive experience volunteering in Head Start programs and elementary schools.


Priniski, Stacy (Psychology)Profile Photo: Priniski
Research interests: Student motivation and interest, personal relevance, classroom interventions, social class, higher education, achievement gaps

Bio: Stacy earned her B.A. in Psychology and Spanish in 2011 and her M.S. in Psychology with a Cognitive and Affective Sciences emphasis in 2014, both from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She earned her M.S. in Social Psychology in 2015 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Pyne, Jaymes (Sociology)Profile Photo: Pyne
Research interests: Sociology of Education, stratification and inequality, school behavioral and disciplinary problems, early childhood stress, educational policy, at-risk youth, educational transitions, quantitative methods

Bio: Jaymes received a BA in History from Aquinas College and a M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from Grand Valley State University. Before moving to Madison, he worked as a teacher, school counselor, and finally as Assistant Director of Grand Valley State University’s Center for Educational Partnerships.


Schmidt, Alex (Sociology)Profile Photo: Schmidt
Interests: educational/social inequality, the effects of family and culture on educational achievement, the evaluation of educational programs and interventions

Bio: Alex graduated from St. Olaf College with a degree in Sociology/Anthropology and Asian Studies, and a minor in China Studies. Prior to graduate school, he spent a year conducting research on Muslim Chinese views of higher education in northwestern China through a Fulbright Scholarship. The following two years he taught middle school English in a rural school in Guangdong with Teach for China.


Smith, Christian (Sociology)Profile Photo: Smith
Research interests: Socioeconomic inequalities in higher education, college completion, financial aid policy, social stratification, poverty

Bio: Christian graduated from Macalester College in 2015, where he received a BA in Applied Mathematics & Statistics and Educational Studies. Before coming to Wisconsin, he conducted research in both applied mathematics and higher education, led programming for working class college students, and taught mathematics in a variety of settings.


Suchor, Katerina (Educational Policy Studies)
Research interests: Educational inequity, out-of-school learning, rural education

Bio: Katerina has a BA in Economics from Grinnell College. She previously worked at Abt Associates on studies of federal education and workforce development programs, and at the Value-Added Research Center (within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research) on projects related to value-added modeling, class size reduction programs, course-taking behavior, and early warning systems.


Viegut, Alexandria (Educational Psychology)Profile Photo: Viegut
Research Interests: Mathematical cognition; role of gestures in children's learning; impact of educational environment on students' perception and cognition; role of teacher and parental input on children's mathematical development

Bio: Alex graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2017 with a B.A. in Psychology and minor in Education. Her undergraduate research focused on preschool children's understanding of numbers.


Wertz, Jacob (Sociology)Profile Photo: Wertz
Research Interests: Measuring Educational Outcomes; K-12 School Reform Movements; School Quality; Inequality

Bio: Jacob holds a BS in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University. Prior to graduate school, he created a teaching fellowship program in Chicago and founded a charter middle school in Southeast Los Angeles.


Wu, Sally (Educational Psychology)Profile Photo: Wu
Research interests: Connection-making, external representations, metacognition, drawing, educational technology; STEM education

Bio: Sally graduated from Haverford College in 2011 with a BA in Psychology and minor in Educational Studies. Prior to graduate school, she was a curriculum and training specialist as an AmeriCorps member at Citizen Schools, engaging volunteers and staff in providing hands-on learning apprenticeships for at-risk students in Newark, NJ. She also worked as a research assistant for Abt Associates, a research and evaluation consulting firm, where she investigated the effectiveness of STEM education initiatives.