ECSP trains students for research in civic engagement and civic education. Generously funded by the Spencer Foundation, ECSP equips researchers to contribute to developing ‘New Civics’, a broader, more realistic view of civic engagement. 30 HGSE Scholars and several faculty make up the ECSP community.

Our Story So Far

  • Early Career Scholars

    Maung NyeuMaung Nyeu

    Fifth-Year Doctoral Student
    Culture, Communities, and Education

    Maung comes from Indigenous community in the mountains of Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. He is a co-founder of of K-10 schools and publisher of local language based culturally relevant children’s books. He is a contributing author in a book titled, “Languages in Global World”, published by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

  • Early Career Scholars

    Siwen ZhangSiwen Zhang

    Sixth-Year Doctoral Student
    Human Development and Education

    Siwen is interested in how the children of immigrants and refugees from developing countries negotiate linguistic, cultural and identity development in transnational contexts. Siwen is working on her dissertation that looks at how Chinese international students in US higher education develop critical global citizenship.

  • Early Career Scholars

    Krista Goldstine-ColeKrista Goldstine-Cole

    Sixth-Year Doctoral Student
    Culture, Communities, and Education

    Krista's research interests reflect her lifelong advocacy for children, and focus on the physical, mental and behavioral health effects of adverse childhood experiences across the lifespan.  

  • Early Career Scholars

    Amy CheungAmy Cheung

    Seventh-Year Doctoral Student
    Culture, Communities, and Education

    Amy's research interests focus broadly on issues of identity across the lifespan and in relation to diverse contexts. Her dissertation explores experiences of illness and their consequences on the identities of doctoral students. Other research has examined the role of civic engagement and educational messaging in the identity development of Asian American youth.  
  • Early Career Scholars

    Jacob FayJacob Fay

    Seventh-Year Doctoral Student
    Educational Policy, Leadership, and Instructional Practice

    A philosopher of education, Jacob's dissertation develops an innovative ecological theory of injustice that synthesizes different theoretical accounts of injustice—such as those of critical theorist Nancy Fraser, and those of liberal theorists like Judith Shklar and Amartya Sen—with insights inspired by developmental psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory. 

  • Early Career Scholars

    Jessica FeiJessica Fei

    Sixth-Year Doctoral Student
    Culture, Communities, and Education

    Drawing upon the disciplines of sociology, psychology, and geography, Jessica's dissertation research examines how teaching artists and students make sense of their experiences in place-based programs at a Boston community arts studio. Her scholarly interests also include critical youth studies, youth participatory action research (YPAR), arts-based research, and social justice youth development.

  • Early Career Scholars

    Kathleen LynchKathleen Lynch

    Seventh-Year Doctoral Student
    Educational Policy, Leadership, and Instructional Practice

    Kathleen studies education policy and strategies to reduce educational inequality, particularly in mathematics. She is a Doctoral Fellow in Inequality & Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and is also affiliated with the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science.

  • Early Career Scholars

    Eleanor O'Donnell

    Eleanor (Nell) O'Donnell

    Fifth-Year Doctoral Student
    Culture, Communities, and Education

    Nell has over ten years of experience working in education for nonprofit organizations and most recently as an independent consultant. Her recent work has included a multi-country project to support emergent literacy and numeracy in early childhood centers, as well as a program to professionalize youth workers in Jordan. 

  • Early Career Scholars

    Silvia Diazgranados

    Dr. Silvia Diazgranados

    Ed.D. (2016)
    Senior Researcher for Education, International Rescue Committee

    Silvia studies the multi-level factors that influence the development of citizenship competencies in young people, and applies this knowledge in designing, implementing and evaluating the effect citizenship education programs with at-risk students in international settings.

  • Early Career Scholars

    Abena MackallAbena Subira Mackall

    Sixth-Year Doctoral Student
    Culture, Communities, and Education

    Abena uses in-depth interviewing to clarify the mechanisms underlying associations between poverty, crime, and low educational attainment. In doing so, her research provides insights into practices and policies that will enable families, communities, and public institutions to more effectively support crime-involved individuals. 

  • Early Career Scholars

    Bonnie MackintoshDr. Bonnie Mackintosh

    Ed.D. (2017)
    Postdoctoral Fellow,  Nebraska Academy for Early Childhood Research / Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families, and Schools, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    Bonnie's research interests focus on the relationship between social-emotional learning and academic outcomes in early care and educational programs. 

  • Early Career Scholars

    Jonathan HamptonJonathan D. Hampton

    Fifth-Year Doctoral Student
    Higher Education

    Jonathan's research seeks to develop cultural explanations of educational inequality by exploring the role of educational privilege in shaping opportunity structures.
     

  • Early Career Scholars

    Matthew ShawDr. Matthew P. Shaw

    Ed.D. (2016)
    Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Assistant Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University

    Dr. Shaw is a sociologist of law who specializes in education rights, in particular how laws define and constrain education access. His work focuses on educational inequity and investigating the forms of evidence needed to meet legal standards for reducing these inequities.

  • Early Career Scholars

    Ellis Reid

    Ellis Reid

    Second-Year Doctoral Student
    Cultures, Institutions, and Society

    Ellis explores the civic and moral dimensions of schooling. He is especially interested in better understanding the extent to which schools and community organizations can encourage young people, especially young people from historically marginalized communities, to critique power and fight for meaningful social change.

  • Early Career Scholars

    Ashley LeeAshley Lee

    Fifth-Year Doctoral Student
    Culture, Communities, and Education

    Ashley is exploring issues at the intersection of digital media and youth’s civic and political expression. As part of R&D efforts, she designs digitally networked, participatory spaces for young people.

  • Early Career Scholars

    Anastasia Aguiar

    Anastasia Aguiar

    Third-Year Doctoral Student
    Cultures, Institutions, and Society

    Anastasia's research interests include civic development, historical understanding, and migration in the United States and South Asia. Prior to graduate school, she taught high school history in Rhode Island, and worked at an education foundation in Delhi, where she focused on teacher professional development.

  • Early Career Scholars

    Janet KwokDr. Janet Kwok

    Ed.D. (2014)
    Research Analyst, City University of New York

    Janet received her doctorate in Human Development and Education at HGSE, where she pursued projects focused on supporting the development of civic engagement in young people. She now applies her statistical and mixed-methods expertise to her work as a research analyst at the City University of New York (CUNY).

  • Early Career Scholars

    Kim StevensKim Stevens

    Sixth-Year Doctoral Student
    Culture, Communities, and Education

    KIm's interests include social and cultural capital accumulation and class identity formation in emerging adulthood. Her current work explores the social and civic experiences of high-achieving low-income students at elite college campuses. 

  • Early Career Scholars

    Liu JiangLiu Jiang

    Third-Year Doctoral Student
    Cultures, Institutions, and Society

    Liu's research focuses on Chinese youths' development of civic identities, especially their political identification with the state, as it is influenced by the political, economic, and sociocultural contexts of K-12 education. 

  • Early Career Scholars

    Julia HigdonDr. Julia Higdon

    Ed.D. (2015)
    Manager of Research and Analytics, Avenues: The World School

    Julia's research focuses on civic attitudes among adolescents, particularly attitudes toward minority groups. She's broadly interested in issues of measurement, and in the development of scales that would be useful measures of civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

  • Early Career Scholars

    AlenAlen Agaronov

    Fourth-Year Doctoral Student
    T. H. Chan School of Public Health

    A doctoral student at the Chan School of Public Health, Alen is currently finishing work on the art and science of participatory action research, which wrangles with questions of bioethics, the science wars, the humanities, em(power)ment, and social change.

  • Early Career Scholars

    Chen ChenDr. Chen Chen

    Ed.D. (2017)
    Postdoctoral Fellow,  Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

    Chen's dissertation, Romantic Transfer: From Science to Social Ideologies (2017), explored what happens when students unconsciously transfer their learning from the hard sciences to the social world .

  • Early Career Scholars

    Vidur ChopraVidur Chopra

    Eighth-Year Doctoral Student
    Culture, Communities, and Education

    Vidur focuses on adolescent and youth civic agency in the developing world and particularly in post-conflict countries with large youth bulges.  He is interested in the role of formal and non-formal educational opportunities in young people's imaginings of their roles in rebuilding conflict-torn societies and the potential and promise education holds for peace building.

  • Early Career Scholars

    Nikhit D'SaDr. Nikhit D'Sa

    Ed.D. (2015)
    Research Consultant, Save the Children

    Trained as a developmental psychologist, Dr. D’Sa is a youth advocate and prevention scientist. His broad research interest is in the psychosocial development of adolescents who grow up in situations of community violence, neighborhood poverty, and family chaos. Dr. D’Sa has worked with street children in India and Ghana, studied gangs in South Africa, and worked with youth vocational training programs in Jamaica and Bangladesh.

  • Early Career Scholars

    Bryan McAllister-GrandeDr. Bryan McAllister-Grande

    Ed.D. (2017)

    Bryan recently received his doctorate at HGSE, where his work focused on the history of religion and learning in twentieth-century American higher education. He is also an administrator in global affairs and exchanges with experience at Clark and Brandeis universities. 

  • Early Career Scholars

    Reid HigginsonReid Higginson

    Fourth-Year Doctoral Student
    Culture, Institutions, and Society

    Reid’s research focuses on how college students understand the purpose of their education. Situated in the context of increased vocationalism in higher education, Reid’s work aims to inform how colleges can best convey their civic and liberal arts missions to diverse student bodies.

  • Early Career Scholars

    Amelia PetersonAmelia Peterson

    Fourth-Year Doctoral Student
    Educational Policy and Program Evaluation

    Amelia studies changes to high school pathways in the wake of higher education expansion, comparing reforms across OECD countries. Additionally, she is working on a collaborative project studying “human-centred systems design” in K-12 education. She is a fellow in the Inequality and Social Policy program at Harvard and an Associate with Innovation Unit.

  • Early Career Scholars

    Xin XiangXin Xiang

    Fourth-Year Doctoral Student
    Culture, Communities, and Education

    A researcher of youth and inequality in China, Xin founded Clover Youth, an innovative international development program for migrant workers in the city of Guangzhou.

  • Early Career Scholars

    James NoonanDr. James Noonan

    Ed.D. (2017)
    Project Director, Massachusetts Consortium for Innovative Education Assessment

    James  is a research affiliate with the Justice In Schools project where he pursues questions related to teacher identity and agency as well as school and district quality. In addition, he is the project director with the Massachusetts Consortium for Innovative Education Assessment (MCIEA), where he oversees the development and piloting of a holistic framework for measuring school quality.

  • Early Career Scholars

    Brent MaherBrent Maher

    Fifth-Year Doctoral Student
    Culture, Communities, and Education 


    Brent's scholarly interests focus on the history of higher education policy with particular attention to debates between higher education and government regarding the public purposes of higher education.
  • Early Career Scholars

    Emily WeinsteinDr. Emily Weinstein

    Ed.D. (2017)
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Graduate School of Education

    Emily studies the intersections of networked technologies with the social, emotional, and civic lives of adolescents and emerging adults. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.