Tom Swiderski, University of North Carolina

Full bio

sdI am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Public Policy at UNC Chapel Hill studying secondary and higher education in the US. I use quantitative methods to examine the effects of education programs and policies, especially those affecting the transition out of high school. I focus particularly on “college-prep” policies that require or encourage high school students to engage in college-level coursework and college-preparatory activity.

Emileigh Harrison, University of Chicago

Full bio

Hello! I’m a PhD student studying Public Policy at the University of Chicago. My research focuses on examining ways to reduce inequality and eliminate barriers to education; particularly for women, first-generation college students, and other historically disadvantaged groups. Currently, I am studying the effects of statewide higher education policies on the academic outcomes of community college students, as well as changes in gender and racial representation in children’s books over time.

I am a Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the Inclusive Economy Lab as well as a Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Data and Computing and a Committee on Education Fellow at UChicago.


Steve Hemelt, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Full bio

Steven Hemelt is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hemelt is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), a Senior Researcher at the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER), and serves as an Associate Editor of Education Finance and Policy. His current work focuses on transitions to life after high school, skill demand, college costs, and student success in higher education—especially for first-generation students and those from low-income backgrounds. Hemelt holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), along with undergraduate degrees in economics and Spanish. Prior to graduate school, he was a high school teacher in Maryland.

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