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CCRC Staff Members Earn Degrees From Teachers College

Four current and former CCRC staff members earned graduate degrees in May 2017 from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Elizabeth Kopko Vivian Yuen Ting Liu Lara Pheatt Jasmine Sanders
Elizabeth Kopko Vivian Yuen Ting Liu Lara Pheatt Jasmine Sanders

Elizabeth Kopko and Vivian Yuen Ting Liu both completed doctoral degrees in the economics and education program, Lara Pheatt earned a PhD in politics and education, and Jasmine Sanders received a master’s in sociology and education.

“Graduate students are the backbone of our workforce at CCRC and undertake much of the day-to-day labor of gathering and interpreting data for our research,” said Thomas Bailey, the director of CCRC. “We appreciate all the hard work and good ideas Elizabeth, Vivian, Lara, and Jasmine have contributed and congratulate them on earning their degrees.”

Kopko was a senior research assistant with CCRC and will now be a postdoctoral research associate. She has worked at CCRC since 2010, with a focus on both quantitative and qualitative research. Her dissertation, Essays on the Economics of Education: Community College Pathways and Student Success, examined structured program pathways and related policies by analyzing the relationship between early major choice and major switching, the impact of transfer agreements on students studying for career and technical associate degrees, and the effect of earning an associate degree before transferring to a four-year college.

Liu is a CCRC research associate focusing on quantitative examinations of the effects of students’ various paths through college. She has worked at CCRC since 2012. Her dissertation, Essays on the Economics of Higher Education: The Academic and Labor Market Outcomes to Four to Two-Year Transfer, Summer Enrollment, and Year-Round Pell, examined the impact on graduation rates of transfer from four-year to two-year colleges and of providing grants for summer enrollment.

Pheatt was a research associate with CCRC from 2011 through 2016, when she relocated to California. Her dissertation focused on the rapid diffusion of massive open online courses (MOOCs) across both public and private nonprofit four-year colleges in the United States. The title was The Pursuit of Profit or Prestige: What the Diffusion of MOOCS can tell us about disruptive innovation in US Higher Education.

Sanders, a research assistant with CCRC, earned her master’s in the sociology and education program at Teachers College. In addition to her research work at CCRC, she focused her studies on college access and completion, social stratification, and race/class inequalities, with a thesis on higher education, social mobility, and interpretations of the “American Dream.”

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