About EEPS

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) offer a unique program aimed at cultivating human capital within the education policy sector. The Emerging Education Policy Scholars (EEPS) program brings newly minted Ph.D. scholars and Ph.D. candidates who have a keen research eye, fresh ideas, and boundless (or budding) enthusiasm for education policy to our nation’s capital to meet with education-policy experts and to share and brainstorm exciting new directions for K–12 education research. The EEPS program seeks to counter the long-standing, well-documented divide between research and policy in education.

It focuses on three overarching goals:

  • to foster an opportunity for talented, promising scholars to connect with other scholars in their field, as well as to introduce them to key players in the education policy arena;
  • to expand the pool of talent and ideas from which the education policy arena currently draws;
  • and to increase understanding of how the worlds of policy and practice intersect with scholarly research in education and related fields.

EEPS is a seminar-based program that cultivates talent within the education research and policy fields by introducing new scholars to one another and to the members of the reform-minded education-policy community in Washington, D.C. The program encourages new scholars and experts to share both research and ideas.

  • Who are EEPS?

    Emerging Education Policy Scholars are current doctoral candidates or a doctoral-degree recipients in the last five years. They may work in higher education, K–12 administration, or a nonprofit or for-profit organization. They also have a keen interest in public policy, are eager to engage in the national conversation about how best to educate children (including amending the structure of our current system in pursuit of that goal), and are in the process of or have recently completed some notable scholarly research that will further that conversation.

    EEPS are organized into cohorts that meet for two events in D.C., typically in the summer and winter. After the second meeting, EEPS graduate to “alumni status,” have the opportunity to present at future EEPS meetings to new cohorts, and can engage with fellow alumni at cross-cohort EEPS events and annual research conferences.

  • What do EEPS do?

    Participants gather informally with think-tankers, academics, policymakers, and reformers in Washington, D.C. The purpose of these events is to bridge connections between up-and-coming scholars and senior education-policy experts and K–12 education practitioners, as well as to foster an opportunity for both groups to share research and ideas.

  • How are EEPS chosen?

    Admissions decisions are made jointly by Fordham and AEI. We seek strong scholarship and education research in a wide variety of areas.

  • How do I apply?

    The application period for our 2021 cohort of EEPS has now closed. For information about how to apply to our 2022 cohort, please contact Victoria McDougald ([email protected]org).    

  • What is the cost of the program?

    There is no cost to apply to EEPS. Accepted scholars attend EEPS events free of charge, and will also be reimbursed for reasonable travel and accommodation expenses.

The EEPS Experience

“While professional societies provide ample opportunity for within field collaboration, we often lack opportunity to bridge the silos. EEPS not only provided me with a broader perspective on education policy, it allowed me to network with folks from different fields working towards similar goals whom I might not have met otherwise.”

Andrew Schaper

Cohort Five

“EEPS allowed me to expand my professional network, and to access a side of policy consideration and dissemination that I had not previously encountered in any meaningful way. Perhaps most importantly, since completing my EEPS experience I have further grown my cross-cohort EEPS network and benefited enormously from collaboration and conversations that this networking has spurred!”

Shaun Dougherty

Cohort Three

“EEPS is professionally valuable, totally unique, and thought-provoking.”

Michael Ford

Cohort Five

“In addition to connecting with other young scholars from across the country, the experience has expanded my view of the ways in which I can use my research to contribute to public debates currently underway in education policy. As a result of the experience, I feel better equipped to translate my research into approachable mediums suitable for broader audiences.”

F. Chris Curran

Cohort Five

EEPS Class of 2020–2021

Andrew Bacher-Hicks

Assistant Professor in the Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development

Joshua Bleiberg

Post-Doctoral Research Associate in School Reform at the Annenberg Institution

Carycruz M. Bueno

Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Annenberg Institute and The Policy Lab at Brown University

Christopher Cleveland

Ph.D. Candidate in Education Policy and Program Evaluation at Harvard University

Jonathan E. Collins

Assistant Professor of Education and Political Science (by courtesy) at Brown University

Elise Dizon-Ross

Post-Doctoral Scholar at the California Policy Lab at UC Berkeley

Walter G. Ecton

Ph.D. Candidate in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College

Jessica Goldstein

Distinguished Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas

Chuanyi Guo

Postdoctoral Scholar in the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Kentucky

Erica Harbatkin

Postdoctoral research associate at the Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) at Michigan State University

Sarah Kabourek

Research Scientist at NORC at the University of Chicago

Kate Kennedy

Ph.D. candidate in Urban Education Policy at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education

Jenna W. Kramer

Associate policy researcher at the RAND Corporation

Matthew Lenard

Ph.D. candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Melissa Arnold Lyon

Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Annenberg Institute at Brown University

Christopher R. Marsicano

Assistant Professor in the Educational Studies Department and Founding Director of the College Crisis Initiative (C2i) at Davidson College

James Paul

Distinguished Doctoral Fellow at the University of Arkansas’ Department of Education Reform

Christine M. T. Pitts

Manager of Research and Evaluation at Portland Public Schools

Angela R. Watson

Senior Research Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy

Haisheng Yang 

Senior Analyst at Abt Associates

EEPS Alumni

Annual Newsletters

For more information about the EEPS program, please contact program coordinators
Victoria McDougald ([email protected]) and Olivia Shaw ([email protected]).