Current Fellows

Ash, Tory (Educational Psychology)
Research interests: Diversity training; family-school partnerships; educational equity; school-wide tiered interventions & supports; culturally responsive practices
Bio: Tory received her BA in psychology and philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a MS in psychology from Syracuse University. Prior to joining the educational psychology department, Tory worked as a lab manager and studied bias reduction for teachers, adults, and children in the Prejudice and Intergroup Relations Lab.


Bier, Becca (Sociology)
Research interests: Access to early childhood education; social stratification; disparities in school readiness and academic achievement
Bio: Rebecca received her B.A. in Development Studies from UC Berkeley in 2015. Prior to coming to UW-Madison, she worked for a consulting organization in Lusaka, Zambia, where she conducted research on education programs across Sub-Saharan Africa. Before this, she worked for a K-12 math curriculum in Washington, D.C.


Brighouse Glueck, Maddy (Sociology)
Research interests: education, stratification, gender
Bio: Maddy majored in Sociology and Philosophy and the University of Minnesota, graduating in 2018. She then moved to the UK and became a secondary school English teacher near Birmingham through Teach First before coming to UW Madison.


Buhrman, Graham (Educational Psychology)
Research interests: Causal inference, Unstructured data, Machine learning
Bio: Graham Buhrman (he/him/his) is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Educational Psychology with a focus on Quantitative Methods. Graham is working with Dr. Jee-Seon.


Castrejon, Adalberto (Educational Policy Studies)
Research interests: College access and success, study of race and racism, Causal inference
Bio: Beto holds a B.A. in Business Marketing from the University of Northern Iowa, and a M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs along with a graduate certificate in Institutional Research and Effectiveness from the University of Iowa.


Castro, Savion (Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis)
Research interests: Quantitative critical race theory, history of African American education and desegregation, and culturally relevant pedagogy.
Bio: Savion received a B.S. in Sociology (2018) and an M.S. in Education Psychology (2023) from UW-Madison. He is a member of the MMSD Board of Education, and an instructor for First Wave in the Office of Multicultural Arts and Initiatives.


Davalos, Laura (Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis)
Research interests: School choice, educational equity, school belonging, culturally responsive practices
Bio: Laura (she/her) received a BA in Political Science and Psychology at the University of Michigan in April 2023.


Donovan, Andrea M. (Psychology)
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.


Feagins, Victor (Educational Psychology)
Research interests: dependent/structured data, hierarchical modeling, causal inference
Bio: Victor graduated with a BS in Statistics and Data Science from The University of Texas San Antonio


Gill, Erin (Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis)
Research interests: LGBTQ+ students’ wellbeing; education policy; rural schools; teacher professional development
Bio: Erin holds a B.S. in Visual Art Education with highest distinction from Indiana University Bloomington. Prior to graduate school, she taught high school art, led student and teacher mentoring programs, and served as a local teacher association leader at a rural school in Indiana.


Grondin, Matthew (Educational Psychology and Mechanical Engineering).
Research interests: Embodied learning in engineering education and application of theories  of transfer; specifically, the use of gesture and metaphor to ground conceptual understandings, and the application of embodied and activity system theories of transfer. Matthew is also interested in connecting his research to engineering-related industry.
Bio: Matthew holds a BS and MS is Biomedical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently in the process of obtaining a joint-degree between Educational Psychology-Learning Sciences and Mechanical Engineering for the prospect of bridging a predominately formalisms first field to the best that Educational Psychology and Learning Sciences research has to offer.


Holley, Kendall (Psychology)
Research interests: the effects of power and control on human behavior, perception, and learning
Bio: Kendall graduated from Grinnell College in 2011 with his B.A in Sociology and Psychology.



Jay, Tory (Psychology)
Research interests: Mathematical cognition; children's understanding of fractions and algebra
Bio: Tory received their BS from University of Wisconsin-Madison, graduating with distinction in Psychology and Neurobiology. Tory also earned their MS in Psychology from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Kim-Michel, HeeJin (Social Work)
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.


Latham, Alex (Educational Psychology)
Research Interests: Academic skill assessment and intervention; Statistical judgment; Machine learning; STEM education; Single case research design, Equity in tiered support systems
Bio: Alex received a B.A. in Psychology with Honors from UW - Madison in 2020 and is currently a second-year student in the School Psychology program.


Lebovitz, Ben (Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis)
Research interests: education policy; LGBTQ+ affirmation; educational equity; identity development
Bio: Ben received a B.Mus. from the University of Arizona and a M.Ed. from Northern Arizona University. A National Board Certified Teacher, Ben taught high school choir and drama while advising a gender and sexuality alliance in southern Arizona.


Lin, Frankie (Economics)
Research interests: Applied microeconomics, socioeconomic mobility, post-secondary education
Bio: Frankie completed his Bachelor's in Economics and Statistics at the University of California Berkeley.


Little, Heather (Economics)
Research interests: Post-secondary educational choice, intergenerational mobility, teenage decisions that may affect social mobility (human capital investment, time use, pregnancy, etc), programs to increase college accessibility, classroom incentive structures, geographic mobility's connection to social mobility
Bio: Heather earned her undergraduate degree at New York University, where she double majored in Economics and Sociology and had minors in German and Math. She spent two years teaching middle and high school math in Eastern Kentucky with Teach for America. She holds a master's degree in Economics from University College London and is now a PhD student in UW Madison's Department of Economics.


Lopez, Estela (Educational Policy Studies)
Research interests: Intersection of race, gender, and class status and inequalities in STEM education and the labor market in the U.S. and Brazil; science and math identity development; racial and gender wage gaps.
Bio: Estela holds a B.S. in mathematics and B.A. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master’s of Public Affairs from Indiana University Bloomington. Prior to coming to UW Madison, she worked for three years as Institutional Research Manager for a nonprofit organization in the D.C. area.


Samantha Macksey (Educational Psychology)
Research interests: Underlying cognitive mechanisms in children's math learning
Bio: Samantha is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Educational Psychology in the area of Human Development. Samantha received her B.A. in psychology from Northeastern Illinois University.


Marifian, Elise (Economics)
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.


McMullen, Isabel (Political Science)
Research interests: local politics and policy, race and gender, and higher education student outcomes
Bio: Isabel (she/her) is a student in the American politics subfield. She previously worked for the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research as a senior research analyst. Her B.A. is from the University of Michigan (2017). She is also a proud recipient of the Kalamazoo Promise.


Murray, Jennifer (Psychology)
Research interests: Mathematical cognition, conceptual understanding of mathematics, development of fraction understanding
Bio: Jennifer received a BA in Mathematics, a BA in Psychology, and teaching credentials from the University of Montana. She taught High School math (primarily algebra) in Idaho Falls, Idaho for five years before coming to UW Madison.


Porter, Tiaira (Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis)
Research interests: STEM graduate student success, identity development, motivation, historically underserved student retention, educational equity, higher education.
Bio: Tiaira earned her BS in Physiology and Chemistry from Northern Michigan University, and a MS in Physiology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Prior to joining the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, she gained experience in pre-college summer bridge programs for historically underserved students, taught Anatomy and Physiology courses at a local community college, and has worked to improve STEM transfer student transition success for over four years.


Premo, Elizabeth (School of Social Work)
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.


Swerbenski, Kat (Psychology)
Research interests: intergroup dynamics; cross-race friendships; school belonging; academic success; student well-being; intervention research
Bio: Kat received her B.A. with honors in Psychology from Miami University.


Widra, Rachel (Economics)
Research interests: Labor and family economics, access to childcare and labor force decisions, teacher retention
Bio: Rachel received her B.A. in Economics and English from UW-Madison in 2019. Prior to starting her PhD, she worked for an education policy consulting organization studying students' perceptions of safety after the introduction of school resource officers and validation of a survey measuring elementary schoolers social-emotional skills. After finishing her bachelor's degree, she worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland before returning to Madison for her graduate studies.