Home

I am a Ph.D. candidate at Carnegie Mellon University working in Economics at the Tepper School of Business, advised by Dennis Epple, Holger Sieg, John Engberg, and Ron Zimmer. I am also enrolled in the Program in Interdisciplinary Education Research. PIER is funded by the U.S. Department of Education with the explicit purpose of bringing pre-doctoral students across the university together for collaborative education research. My CV is available here in pdf format.

I received my M.S. in Economics at Carnegie Mellon University in 2009. Before entering Carnegie Mellon, I graduated with honors from Johns Hopkins University in 2007 with a B.S. in both Biomedical Engineering and Economics.

My job market paper exploits a randomized, experimental design to evaluate the treatment effect of a new software-based math curriculum in schools in Chile and Mexico. A math cognitive tutor (MCT) system widely used throughout the U.S. was adapted for use in Chilean and Mexican public middle schools. The curriculum requires large changes in pedagogy, including the use of computers for individual students to progress through an extended pre-algebra program. The study was conducted over a 6-month time period. Using a hierarchical linear model (HLM), we show that students enrolled in schools which were randomly assigned to adopt the MCT significantly improved their standardized math test scores as compared to control group peers. However, the implementation of the changes in the schools and classrooms was not perfect. Those schools which were better prepared to make changes, especially those with sufficient computers and technical support services, saw their students master more of the software part of the curriculum. Students and teachers generally viewed the MCT positively. The results on math performance and attitudes are promising for further propagation of the MCT curriculum. Knowledge from this study regarding the structure and implementation required for schools to successfully exploit the unique teaching capabilities of the MCT should guide the future diffusion of this specific technology.

The bulk of my research interests relate to education program evaluation. My recent work has focused on measuring and improving student effort in the classroom. One facet of this research deals with student help-seeking behavior when using math teaching software. Another piece is centered around the effect of exam wrappers, a tool designed to encourage proper study techniques in undergraduate students. Each of these, and other work, is explored more deeply in the Research section on this site.

I will be available for interviews at the AEA/ASSA 2014 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in January and the AERA 2014 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in April.

Letters of reference can be requested from Lawrence Rapp, Assistant Director of Ph.D. Student Services, by phone at 412-268-1319 or email at lrapp at andrew dot cmu dot edu.