EPW Student Spotlight: Anandita Krishnamachari

Anandita Krishnamachari
5th year Ph.D student in the Research, Statistics, and Evaluation program at the Curry School of Education and a researcher at EdPolicyWorks.
Email: [email protected]

Question: Why did you choose the Curry School of Education?

Anandita KrishnamachariKrishnamachari: When I was looking at PhD programs, I knew I wanted a program within a school of education that provided rigorous methods training as well. The Research, Statistics and Evaluation program at Curry was one of the few programs that provided that overlap I was looking for, so it seemed like a great opportunity. Before coming to Curry, I worked for a charter management organization, where my role consisted of data analysis and creating reports for funders and stakeholders, and that's how I became interested in program evaluation- particularly, evaluating policies that improved outcomes for teachers and students.  

Question: What are you working on now?

Krishnamachari: I currently work on designing, implementing and evaluating interventions in the context of teacher preparation, as well as developing data infrastructure for crowdsourcing and replication research. A lot of my work is with Vivian Wong and Julie Cohen on the TeachSIM project, where we have been implementing and evaluating a series of replication studies in the context of UVa's teacher preparation program. I also work with Vivian, Bryan Cook and Bill Therrien on the development of a crowd-sourcing platform that supports replication studies in special education. 

Independently, my research focuses uses rigorous quantitative methods to evaluate policies that target teacher quality and student learning at the K-16 levels. I have extensive experience in designing, implementing and evaluating rigorous causal studies, as well as quasi-experimental evaluations of policies and programs that are critical to education policy. My passion for creating high-quality educational systems for teachers and students stems from witnessing how such education can transform lives while growing up in India.

Question: Why is this work important and how will it be impactful in the future?

Krishnamachari: My research is relevant because although we know teacher quality is the most important predictor of student achievement, the field of needs more rigorous evidence on when to provide supports, what kinds of supports to provide and the impact of these supports on pre-service and novice teachers. By using rigorous research designs, my work has important  implications for how teacher preparation programs are designed, implemented and evaluated

Question: In what ways has EdPolicyWorks influenced you?

Krishnamachari: Being a part of a small program like RSE can feel isolating. For me, the EPW community has been an incredible way of connecting with researchers who do similar, important work in education and beyond. I am particularly grateful for how collaborative and interdisciplinary the EPW community is, and how involved and supportive the EPW faculty are! I've also made wonderful friends within the EPW community that have supported me both professionally and personally.

Question: If you could give one piece of advice to incoming Ed Policy students, it would be...

Krishnamachari: To leverage the wonderful mentorship provided at EPW and the collaborative nature of the Ed Policy community!

EdPolicyWorks is a joint collaboration between the Curry School of Education and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. EdPolicyWorks brings together researchers from across the University of Virginia and the State to focus on important questions of educational policy and implications for the workforce.