My primary research agenda examines why socioeconomically advantaged individuals are more likely than socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals to attend and complete college. This topic is of crucial significance to both policy and social stratification research: undergraduate education is a dividing line between haves and have-nots in the U.S., largely determining who reaps high incomes, job satisfaction, health, and happiness.

My first article from this research strand, published in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, examines whether selective attrition based on noncognitive skills can explain waning social background effects on the completion of successively higher schooling transitions.

The second article, published in Socius, examines (1) whether an individual is more likely to attend college if an older sibling has already attended and (2) whether the effect varies with respect to parental education.

The third article, published in Research in Higher Education, examines (1) to what extent between-high school differences in students’ college attendance can be explained by high schools’ geographic context rather than the policies and practices schools can more readily change, and (2) whether this relationship is different for economically advantaged vs. disadvantaged students.

A fourth study, posted in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research Working Paper Series and currently under peer review, examines (1) the economic disparity in college attendance in Wisconsin, conditional and unconditional on academic achievement, and (2) the extent to which various high school practices and resources explain economically disadvantaged students’ probabilities of college attendance.

Three additional studies under review or soon to be submitted for peer review test whether state- and school-level policies can narrow economic inequalities in educational success. In particular, these studies apply quasi-experimental analyses to assess (1) whether patterns of state appropriations to universities shape inequality in college persistence, (2) whether mandatory college and career readiness exams shape inequality in college attendance, and (3) whether high schools can reduce inequality in Advanced Placement participation and college attendance by allowing students to self-select into Advanced Placement courses.

I am a research partner at the Institute for the Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity, where I am collaborating with data scientists and applied mathematicians on projects related to criminal sentencing disparities, diversity statements in academic hiring, and mathematical applications of intersectionality theory. In this interdisciplinary work, I contribute expertise in social stratification and econometrics. In one of these projects, published at PLoS One, we curated the first large-scale, free, public database that includes federal criminal cases and the name of the judge who tried each case.

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