My research interests include higher education policy, institutional philanthropy, social change strategies, fundraising, financial feasibility, and student success for underserved and underrepresented communities.
In my work, I explore the role of foundations in nonprofit advocacy and the impact of funders on social change with a social justice-informed approach. Through my research projects and community engagement, I have extensive experience with and knowledge of grantmaking strategies, reviewing criteria derived from my analyses of large organizational grantmakers, establishing and fostering community partnerships for social justice projects, and leading teams as a project manager.
I believe that the formative power of philanthropy—via the constellation of funders, donors, and other stakeholders—should be leveraged in the service of advancing outcomes grounded in social justice and equity. For example, by drawing on my research on educational philanthropy and using a mixed-method approach, I am currently exploring how foundations can create fields of support for minority-serving institutions, emphasizing a racial and social equity lens.
My dissertation modeled the social change strategies of major foundations in the college completion agenda, drawing on descriptive and inferential statistics, social network analysis, and semi-structured interviews to examine foundation-led strategies. (For a dissertation-based paper, see here.) During my time at Michigan State University, I contributed to an Andrew Mellon Foundation-funded evaluation study regarding the impact of postdoctoral appointments on career outcomes, providing policy and program recommendations. (For a sample of this work, see here.)
At the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor, I worked on The Michigan Doctoral Experience Study (MDES), an ongoing study of the Ph.D. student experiences at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. MDES is one of the few quantitative studies capturing socialization processes, intending to understand how students develop from knowledge consumers to knowledge producers.
At Harvard University, I extended my prior work into applied and theoretical research, namely planning and conducting fundraising feasibility analysis, managing processes and guidelines for working with fundraising and academic partners and diversifying prospect pipelines. In particular, I conducted a feasibility study that engaged some of the university’s high-net donors to launch a center dedicated to public engagement and social sector effectiveness. In addition, I launched an evaluation to increase donations among non-engaged alumni donors using 30 years of giving data. I am currently involved in research and development efforts at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), including benchmarking effective STEM programs through evidence-based research, community engagement, and assessments that will lead to improving current resources as well as developing new opportunities for minority-serving institutions.