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 a diverse group in terms of experience and expertise. 

  • How do I apply?

    How to Apply

    Applications are now closed. Please email Abigail Hamilton ([email protected]) if you are interested in being notified when the applications open for 2025.

  • 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 2023–2024

Hannah Acheson-Field

Policy researcher at Abt Associates with a Ph.D. in policy analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

Anthony Bald

Fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Johanna Bernard

Ph.D. student in Education Policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education with a M.Ed. in Child Studies with a specialization in Poverty and Intervention from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University, and a B.A. in Psychology from Bowdoin College.

Jay Carter 

Senior research associate in the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute and the Team Lead for the Education Data.

Lauren Covelli

Associate Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation.

Kari Dalane

Data Analyst at the New Jersey Department of Education.

Tasminda (Tasmin) K. Dhaliwal

Assistant Professor of Education Policy at Michigan State University.

Andrew R. Diemer

Doctoral candidate at Saint Louis University studying Education Policy & Equity.

Elc Estrera

Director of Data Strategy and Analytics at the Wake County Public School System.

Alexis Gable

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

Shirin Hashim

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

Blake H. Heller

Assistant Professor at the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs.

Mario Jackson

Doctoral candidate in the Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development program at North Carolina State University.

Alison Heape Johnson

Distinguished Doctoral Fellow in the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform, working toward a Ph.D. in education policy.

Mary Laski

Research principal at the Center for Reinventing Public Education at Arizona State University and a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University.

Katharine Parham Malhotra

Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Virginia's EdPolicyWorks Center– a collaboration between the School of Education and Human Development and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

Melanie S. Meyer

Lecturer in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Baylor.

Sarah Ruth Morris 

Doctoral candidate at The University of Arkansas, anticipated Ph.D. in May 2025.

Francisco Arturo Santelli

Ph.D. candidate at Vanderbilt University's Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations. 

Mary Smith

Ph.D. student in the Education Leadership and Policy Studies program at Vanderbilt University, Peabody College.

EEPS Alumni

Annual Newsletters

For more information about the EEPS program, please contact program coordinator
Abigail Hamilton ([email protected]).