Current VEST fellows are participating in either the 4-Year Program or 2-Year Program. Learn more about VEST Alumni.
The VEST 4-Year Program has graduate students from the School of Education and Human Development's Ph.D programs of either Education Policy or Educational Psychology-Applied Development Sciences.
The VEST 2-year Program has graduate students later in their academic program from U.Va.'s Department of Economics, Psychology Department, and/or Sociology Department.
The VEST program is committed to creating a community of educational researchers. We value mentorship and support our fellows in their professional development. Our faculty and students met socially a couple times a year to celebrate the success of the program. Our students also regularly support each other socially and work together on projects and in classes.
4th Year Fellows
Brian Kim - email@example.com
Brian Heseung Kim is an IES pre-doctoral fellow in the dual Education Policy Ph.D./MPP program with the School of Education and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He studied education from a variety of perspectives throughout his undergraduate degree, working with organizations like America Reads and Counts, Upward Bound, and Let's Get Ready, before graduating with a B.A. in English and Economics from Bowdoin College. Brian received his teaching certification in English and Social Studies after graduation and taught English at a public high school in southern Maine for three years, eventually serving on the school leadership team.
Brian's research interests primarily relate to higher education access and outcomes for students of diverse backgrounds. His major research projects are (a) examining the role of teacher recommendations in postsecondary applications as a potential barrier to low-income, racial/ethnic minority, and first-gen students, and (b) examining socioeconomic disparities in labor market outcomes among graduates of applied community college programs. He leverages an interdisciplinary approach in his work, combining traditional econometrics and data science. More information can be found on his website, www.brhkim.com.
Walter Herring - [email protected]
Walter Herring is an IES pre-doctoral fellow in the Education Policy Studies program. He holds an MPP from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and a BA in Public Policy from Stanford University. Prior to enrolling at UVA, Walter worked as an Algebra 1 teacher in his hometown of Dallas, Texas, and later as a data analyst for a non-profit organization in the San Francisco Bay Area devoted to preparing under-resourced students for college. His research explores how policymakers can leverage emerging data in grades K through 2 to better support students in the critically important early elementary years.
Miray Seward - [email protected]
Miray Seward is an Institute of Education Sciences pre-doctoral fellow in the Educational Psychology-Applied Developmental Science program at the School of Education and Human Development. Miray received her B.A. in psychology and human development from Duke University. Prior to starting her doctoral studies, Miray spent a year as a project/research coordinator in the Motivate Lab and two years as a lab manager in the Language Development Lab and Wilbourn Infant Lab at Duke University.
Miray’s research examines the educational experiences of Black girls and women. In particular, her dissertation work examines the experiences of Black women student-athletes. In addition to her dissertation research, her other major research projects include (1) exploring how middle school students learn and talk about race, and (2) examining the role of school counselors for Black male student-athletes development. More information can be found about her on her website: https://mirayseward.com.
Karen Kehoe - [email protected]
Karen Kehoe is an Institute of Education Sciences pre-doctoral fellow in the Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science program at the School of Education. She earned a B.A. in American Studies and French from the University of Notre Dame and an Ed.M. in Language and Literacy from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Before coming to UVa, Karen worked as an elementary school and special needs classroom teacher, reading specialist, curriculum developer, and program coordinator in local government and non-profit settings.
Karen’s research focuses on the development of literacy skills across early childhood, with a particular emphasis on supporting at-risk readers. She is passionate about work that advances the goals of economically-vulnerable children, families, and communities. Karen works with Dr. Anita McGinty at the UVA PALS Office.
3rd Year Fellows
Shoronda Matthews - [email protected]
Shoronda Matthews is an Institute of Education Sciences pre-doctoral fellow in the Educational Psychology-Applied Developmental Science Doctoral Program at the School of Education and Human Development. She received her B.S. in Neuroscience and Psychology from the University of Scranton and her M.A. in General Psychology from Adelphi University. During her undergrad years, Shoronda worked at a clinic where she helped to set up and run their Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. Before coming to UVA, she was a Research Assistant in the Cognitive Development Lab and the Child and Adolescent Research (CARE) Lab at Adelphi University. Her research explores how to teach science through digital learning, using narrative text. She works with Dr. Jamie Jirout in the Research in Education and Learning Lab.
Melissa Lucas - [email protected]
Melissa Lucas is an Institute of Education Sciences pre-doctoral affiliate fellow in the Educational Psychology-Applied Developmental Science program at the School of Education. Melissa received a B.S. in Psychology and Sociology from Virginia Commonwealth University. During her undergraduate career and prior to starting her doctoral studies, Melissa worked three years as a Research Assistant with the Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development at VCU. Currently, she is working with Dr. Natalia Palacios.
Melissa's research focuses on the (un)supportive strategies used by children, families, and educators, that encourage/discourage culturally resilient identities in Latinx/Immigrant early childhood students. She is interested in addressing how we encourage Latinx/Immigrant students’ positive views of self in academic settings, that allow for enthusiasm in learning and reduce unhealthy academic self-perceptions. She aims to understand how educators engage in culturally relevant practices and the impact on teacher-parent and teacher-student interactions.
Deiby Mayaris Cubides Mateus - [email protected]
Mayaris is a pre-doctoral affiliate fellow in the Educational Psychology and Applied Developmental Sciences program. Mayaris obtained a B.A. and a MSc in Economics, both at Universidad del Rosario in Colombia. Prior to join UVA, she worked as a research fellow in the Social Sector at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC, and as a consultant in the Ministry of Labor in Colombia. From those job experiences, she gained insights into the design and implementation of public policies aimed at young people and children.
Mayaris will be working with Dr. Jennifer LoCasale Crouch. She is interested in the design of better education policies for early childhood from a comprehensive point of view that addresses the development of children as the result of experiences that in turn are determined by a large number of factors.
Edward Scott - [email protected]
Edward Scott Jr. is an Institute of Education Sciences pre-doctoral affiliate fellow in the School's Educational Psychology and Applied Developmental Science program. Prior to doctoral study, Edward served students and families as a social worker in an urban school district, facilitating the expansion of trauma-informed care practices and school culture improvement initiatives. His professional background includes clinical mental health services, youth program development, and management consulting. He earned a B.A. in psychology from William Jewell College, an MSW in clinical social work from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MA in organizational development and leadership from the Rockhurst University Helzberg School of Management. Edward is interested in adolescent leadership identity and sociopolitical development research. Under the mentorship of Drs. Nancy Deutsch and Chauncey Smith, Edward will begin exploring the relational and organizational contexts that effectively promote youth leadership, activism, civic engagement, and psycho-social wellbeing.
Arielle Boguslav - [email protected]
Arielle Boguslav is an IES pre-doctoral fellow in the Education Policy program at the School of Education. She holds an MPP from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and a BA in Archeology and Anthropology from the University of Cambridge. Arielle initially worked in innovation consulting before shifting to the field of education. Her six years of teaching experience include middle school English Language Arts in a Title I school and teaching English as a foreign language to adults in Russia. Arielle’s research interests primarily relate to pre-service and in-service teacher education and how to design experiences and programs that support teacher development.
2nd Year Fellows
Kelsey Clayback - [email protected]
Kelsey Clayback is an Institute of Education Sciences pre-doctoral affiliate fellow in the Educational Psychology-Applied Developmental Science program at the School of Education and Human Development. Kelsey earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Dayton, where she worked on research examining executive function, math skills, and classroom quality in preschool settings. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Kelsey earned her M.Ed. in Clinical and Developmental Research from Vanderbilt University. At Vanderbilt, Kelsey worked on a variety of projects involving social and emotional development, early math development, and depression prevention. During her master’s, Kelsey also conducted independent research on teacher well-being, support, and discipline practices in early childhood education.
At UVA, Kelsey is working with Dr. Amanda Williford. Kelsey is particularly interested in early childhood education and ways to promote social and emotional development in school settings. She is also interested in teacher well-being and determining how to best support educators to facilitate positive outcomes for themselves and their students. More information can be found on her website: https://kelseyclayback.com/.
Dan Rodriguez-Segura - [email protected]
Dan Rodriguez-Segura is a doctoral student in the Education Policy. He has a B.A. in Economics from Washington and Lee University and a M.A in Economics from the University of Virginia. Prior to joining the Education Policy PhD, Dan worked as a research assistant for Nudge4 and as a research analyst at the Latin America Public Policy Expertise Hub at McKinsey and Company. Dan works with Beth Schueler. Dan is interested in impact evaluation, and improving early literacy and numeracy skills in developing countries.
1st Year Fellows
Todd Hall - [email protected]
Todd Hall is a first-year student in the Education Policy PhD/MPP program with the Curry School of Education and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. After earning a BA in Political Economy from Williams College, Todd joined the research network J-PAL North America. There he provided technical assistance to policymakers seeking to launch randomized evaluations and organized an education technology conference. Most recently, Todd worked for the nonprofit ed-tech platform Empatico, analyzing data and scaling user support. Todd's research interests revolve around teacher quality and education technology, especially in relation to disadvantaged communities.