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Lynch School of Education

Meet Our Students

educational research, measurement, and evaluation

The following bios from ERME master's and doctoral students give a quick glimpse at some of the research and employment opportunities students have in and outside of the program.

A selection of 2015-2016 Master’s students
(M.S. and M.Ed.):


Elizabeth Blesson

I am a first year Master’s student in the ERME program (previously in the fifth year program) and I work as a graduate research assistant for The Barbara and Patrick Roche Center for Catholic Education. The project I work on primarily is the Catholic School Standards Study in which we are analyzing the knowledge and use of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Excellent Catholic Schools (NSBECS) across the United States. Working at the Roche Center has been an awesome experience so far. My interests lie in education policy and reform so working at the Center has been a great way for me to familiarize myself with what data-driven reform looks like in practice. It’s been a great learning opportunity for me to sharpen my SPSS skills and understand how to take raw data from Qualtrics and transform it into a clean, usable dataset ready for analysis. These learning opportunities, along with the incredible and lively staff, make the Roche Center a truly wonderful place to work. 

Erin Huckle

I am a second year master's student in the ERME program, and work as a graduate assistant at the Roche Center for Catholic Education. My main project involves the National Survey of Catholic Schools Serving Hispanic Families, which is a joint initiative between the Roche Center and the School of Theology and Ministry. By gathering data from principals across the country, the survey aims to explore Catholic school efforts to enroll and support Hispanic students. My primary responsibilities are to analyze and interpret the survey results, which include both quantitative and qualitative data.

Sujin Ko

I am a first year Master’s student in the Applied Statistics and Psychometrics program and I am working as a graduate research assistant with Dr. Ted Youn, a Professor in the Higher Education department. My focus is studying how American meritocracy generates differential leadership. To do this, we are comparing the extent of career achievement of Rhodes winners with Phi Beta honorees. My responsibilities include checking references, data analysis and editing manuscripts.        

Caroline Prendergast

I work as a graduate assistant at the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center. My focus is on assisting in the preparation of the PIRLS assessment. Preparation of such a large-scale assessment involves integrating data from field tests, receiving feedback from subject matter experts and research coordinators across the world, training scorers, and working with graphic designers. Each of these steps are critical to the development of an effective and useful measure. This position has allowed me to explore the fields of international research and literacy development while immersed in the day-to-day procedures involved in creating a large-scale assessment.



A selection of 2015-2016 PhD students:

Gulsah Gurkan

I’m a first year doctoral student in the ERME program, working with Dr. Nathaniel Brown as a research assistant. I’m involved in two projects related to assessment development. One of the projects focuses on 4th grade students’ learning about energy in physical science curricular units. The other project involves the use of a new classroom video tool for teachers and possible effects/benefits of this tool for teachers’ noticing of learners’ science ideas and reasoning. Currently, we are working on progress variables in order to develop the assessment tools for both projects.

Prior to the ERME program, I worked as a measurement and evaluation specialist in Educational Volunteers Foundation of Turkey (TEGV) in Istanbul for three years. I developed varied measurement tools, coordinated program and impact evaluation studies of education programs implemented across the country, and conducted both quantitative and qualitative analyses to foster development of evidence-based programs. My research interests mainly focus on impact evaluation, achievement data analysis, science assessment, large-scale assessment, and education policy.

Caitlin Hogue

I am a third year doctoral student in the ERME program and I work as the District Student Data Manager for the Newton Public Schools. In this role, I work collaboratively with other central departments and with school leaders to help answer questions using data and manage the assessments for the district. I also work collaboratively within my department to project future enrollment in the school system. My research interests are focused on how teachers use data to inform their classroom instruction, so this role has been a great opportunity for me. In my first two years of the program, I worked with Dr. Lowenhaupt in the Educational Leadership and Higher Education Department on a variety of projects that included both qualitative and quantitative components, which was a beneficial addition to my coursework. I also worked with the Director of Assessment and Accreditation at the Lynch School to analyze survey results for incoming and graduating students and alumni of the Lynch School. Prior to joining the ERME program, I worked as a Data Analyst for the Boston Public Schools in the Office of Data and Accountability and was previously a high school math teacher in the New York City Public Schools.

Martin Hooper         

I am a PhD candidate in my fourth year in the ERME program, and I work as Senior Research Specialist for Questionnaire Development and Policy Studies at the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College.Working at the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center has been an excellent fit for me. I coordinate the development of the context questionnaires for these assessments—a role that has included co-authoring the context questionnaire frameworks, developing questionnaire items and their associated scales, and analyzing the psychometric properties of these item response theory scales. I am also involved in the TIMSS reporting process, coordinating the exhibit development for the International Reports and editing the technical report, Methods and Procedures. In addition to working at the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College, I am a teaching assistant for the ERME courses Large Scale Assessment: Methods and Practice, taught by Professor Ina Mullis, and Psychometrics I, taught by Professor Larry Ludlow.

Jing Jiang

I am a 3rd year doctoral student in the ERME department, working as a research assistant for Dr. Zhushan Li. I have broad research interests in psychometrics and educational measurement, especially in differential item functioning (DIF). We are now working on anchor selection strategies in DIF analysis, including conducting a comprehensive literature review, running simulation studies comparing different approaches, and applying the optimal anchor selection method to real dataset. Also, I’m interested in different parameter estimation methods for IRT models, and the performance of unidimensional and multidimensional IRT models on large-scale assessment data.

Jordan Lawson

I'm a second year doctoral student working as a graduate research assistant for City Connects at Boston College. The primary goal of City Connects is to examine and address out-of-school factors that impact student learning. As part of the research and evaluation team, my job is to assist in the cleaning, management, and analysis of educational data, helping senior quantitative analysts estimate the impacts of City Connects treatment effects on student outcomes.  Additionally, my work as a graduate research assistant has allowed me to further develop strong syntax programming skills, as I frequently help oversee large datasets that require cleaning and merging. I develop syntax to transform scales, identify and correct problematic cases, and analyze missing data in order to then merge and create new datasets for analysis. I also work with a team of analysts to employ regression models using various software packages (e.g. Stata, SPSS, HLM). The research team and I are then responsible for reporting these results back to City Connects Leadership and team members, with the aim of supporting and informing evidence-based practice.

Jorge Alberto Mahecha Rodriguez

As a Ph.D student at ERME, I provide support to the Center for teaching Excellence (CTE) in the measurement and evaluation of educational innovations using technology. In particular, I support CTE personnel in research design issues, survey design and data analysis, both quantitative and qualitative. I am particularly interested in using of rigorous qualitative techniques (like Thematic Analysis), in combination with standard quantitative techniques in order to produce evaluative reports that are useful at guiding CTE personal and faculty in understanding how to improve educational innovations.

I have 18 years of professional experience in education; During this time I have served in several leadership, research, teaching and consultancy positions. I have a Masters in Curriculum and Teaching from Boston University and a Masters in Educational Administration from Los Andes University in Bogotá, Colombia, my native city. My professional interests include the improvement of educational quality in public schools, the professionalization of the School Teaching Profession and methodologies for Social Program Evaluation. I am a board member and co-founder of Teach for Colombia.

Avery Newton

I am a 3rd year doctoral student, working as a research assistant with Dr. Laura O'Dwyer.  Over the past year we have evaluated a foreign language immersion program in a local elementary school, collaborated with a team in the Curriculum and Instruction department on a curriculum intervention in Boston Public Schools, explored the effectiveness of a professional development program in Ireland, and served as external evaluators for an NIH-funded career initiative at a local graduate institution.  I have had the opportunity to collaborate with different students, professors, and stakeholders, all the while using a wide array of statistical and research techniques - everything from classroom observations to multidimensional scaling.  Next year I will be focusing more deeply on my dissertation interests in the education-career transition, and I look forward to drawing on the strategies and techniques I've learned in my assistantship experiences to help me along that journey.

In addition to my work in ERME, I have also taken on some side projects.  I am currently a course assistant in the school of education at Lesley University and I have previously worked as an evaluator for an early childhood consulting firm and for a youth leadership program.