Ed Policy Associates


The Virginia Policy Partnership Collaborative (VPPC) connects UVA faculty and students with education policy makers to address pressing education problems in the Commonwealth through careful research. The VPPC sought out talented students who care deeply about issues of education and equity to be part of the inaugural 2020-21, Education Policy Associates (EPA) program.  The EPA program is an opportunity for students who want training in education policy and opportunities to work on applied research projects with faculty and education policymakers. EPAs work closely with national experts in early childhood, K-12, higher ed, and workforce policy research by collaborating with UVA faculty. Throughout the program, Ed Policy Associates will gain applied research skills such as data management, analytic skills, and technical writing, while also have the opportunity to participate in an intensive Policy Lab course to collaboratively address policy questions identified by Virginia education leaders. Meet our Ed Policy Associates!

You can find a list of past Ed Policy Associate cohorts here.

2021-22 Ed Policy Associates


Lauren Cochran HeadshotLauren Cochran

Lauren Cochran is a fourth year Echols Scholar from Stafford, VA. She is pursuing a double major in Leadership & Public Policy and African American & African Studies on the pre-law track. On Grounds, Lauren is involved with several organizations such as the University Judiciary Committee, Black Student Leaders in Policy, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and is a fellow of the Meriwether Lewis Institute for Citizen Leadership. Prior to joining the Virginia Policy Partnership Collaborative, Lauren served as a research assistant for Capitolworks LLC and an undergraduate intern at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Lauren’s passion for social policy and the law opened the door for her to become an Education Policy Associate. She is eager to work with Dr. Daphna Bassok to examine and improve equity within early childhood education in the Virginia and Louisiana Departments of Education


Aaron Entzminger HeadshotAaron Entzminger

Aaron Entzminger is a fourth-year undergraduate pursuing a B.S. Ed in Youth & Social Innovation in the School of Education and Human Development as well as a B.A. in Environmental Science in the College of Arts and Sciences. After finishing his undergraduate degrees, he is interested in working in education policy and innovative curriculum development surrounding both racial equity and sustainability. His research in the EPA program will be focusing on the varying impacts of Covid-19 on students and teachers in Virginia school districts. Around Grounds, Aaron is involved in Phi Sigma Pi Co-Ed Honor Fraternity, the Cavalier Marching Band, and the OAAA Peer Advising Program. During his free time, he enjoys spending time with friends and family, all things culinary, and catching up on his favorite TV shows. Aaron is very excited to work with Dr. Luke Miller and Dr. Beth Schueler.


Leona Gaither HeadshotLeona Gaither

Leona is a fourth year from King George, Virginia pursuing a B.A. in Sociology and minors in both Data Analytics and Public Policy and Leadership. She has a passion for crafting data-driven solutions to interpersonal and social problems, and appreciates the interdisciplinary approach to addressing these issues provided by her coursework. She’s particularly interested in how this approach can impact education in the United States, and hopes to pursue a Masters in Data Science after completing her undergraduate education so that she can further develop her skills of using data to investigate potential improvements in the equity and accessibility of quality education. 


Janaria Lickey HeadshotJanaria Lickey

Janaria Lickey is a fourth year from Hampton, Virginia pursuing a B.S.Ed. in Speech Communication Disorders. On Grounds, she serves as a student ambassador for the School of Education and Human Development and is a mentor with My Sister’s Keeper. Janaria is passionate about the equalization of educational opportunities and she is ecstatic to be working with Dr. Jason Downer on the RULER Evaluation project. After graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in speech-language pathology and to serve as a speech-language pathologist in a K-12 setting. She looks forward to working at the intersection of education and healthcare.


Dominique Monserrat HeadshotDominique Monserrat

Dominique Monserrat is a first year MPP candidate at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. She recently earned her BA with honors from Wesleyan University, where she majored in Psychology and Education Studies and minored in Data Analysis. In her honors thesis, she analyzed the factors influencing how successful bilingual education policies have been in states with high populations of Latin American immigrants. In addition to language education, she is particularly interested in knowledge mobilization and hopes to be able to use her research to help bridge the gaps between research, policy, and practice in education.


Manan Shah HeadshotManan Shah

Manan Shah is a fourth-year student from Lynchburg, Virginia, studying public policy and leadership. Outside of the classroom, Manan is a member of the Fourth Year Trustees. This past summer, Manan was a research assistant for the CommPAS Lab (Community Policy, Analytics, and Strategy) at the Frank Batten School, and participated in UVA's 22nd Century Scholars program. Manan is passionate about reducing the opportunity gap for marginalized students in public schools and will be working with Dr. Jessica Whittaker on the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program. In the future, Manan hopes to pursue a career in policymaking, in which he can intersect the fields of education policy and racial and socioeconomic equity. 


Katharine Shriver headshotKatharine Shriver

Katharine Shriver is from Cary, North Carolina. She graduated with distinction from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2019 with a B.A. in Politics and Public Policy. Her areas of interest include higher education policy and state and local politics. Following graduation, she worked at the UNC System Office, North Carolina’s public higher education system, as a Presidential Scholar. In this role, she was able to explore the system’s inner workings and develop a keener understanding of how higher education has transformed North Carolina’s economy and why it is critical to our state’s future. Upon graduation from the Frank Batten School, she hopes to either enter into governmental consulting or work at an education policy think tank. 


Katharine Shriver headshotMadeleine Waller

Madeleine Waller is a third-year student at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy from Alexandria, VA. Hoping to study English and Data Science in addition to Public Policy, Madeleine is interested in seeing how data-based technology can empower educational and environmental policy solutions. She is particularly passionate about addressing racial inequity and implementing inclusive practices in these spheres. Outside of classes, she tutors Spanish and works as an editor for the UVA publication The Scratch Zine.