The MiiE Team

Anjali Adukia

Anjali Adukia

Faculty Director, Co-Founder, Principal Investigator

 

Anjali is an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and the College. In her work, she is interested in understanding how to reduce inequalities such that children from historically disadvantaged backgrounds have equal opportunities to fully develop their potential. Her research is focused on understanding factors that motivate and shape behavior, preferences, attitudes, and educational decision-making, with a particular focus on early-life influences. She examines how the provision of basic needs—such as safety, justice, and representation—can increase school participation and improve child outcomes, particularly in developing contexts. When she was little, she did not understand why characters in stories shared so many of the same attributes and did not reflect the diversity in the world around her. She is still trying to understand.

adukia@uchicago.edu
Emileigh Harrison

Emileigh Harrison

Founding Member, Junior Investigator

Emileigh Harrison is a PhD student at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy where her doctoral studies are focused on education and inequality. Her research interests include non-traditional education paths such as community college and homeschooling. Specifically she is interested in the impact of stricter homeschooling regulations on health and academic outcomes for homeschooled children. She is also a doctoral fellow at the Center for Data and Computing (CDAC).

My favorite movie as a child was Mulan. I loved her determination and how she rejected society’s idea of a “perfect/honorable woman” to save her family.

harrisone@uchicago.edu
Alex Eble

Alex Eble

Co-Founder, Principal Investigator

Alex is an assistant professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Professionally, he is most excited about making the world a better place, particularly for the least fortunate. His research focuses on the economics of education, taking insights from behavioral and development economics to better understand the important linkages between outside stimuli, our beliefs, our actions, and our outcomes. Personally, he is originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, and is a big fan of travel, food, music, and the visual arts. He holds a PhD in economics from Brown University. As a kid, he really latched onto stories about heroes who overcame tough odds. As Alex grew up, he realized that a disproportionate amount of the “heroes” looked a lot like him, and this spurred some of the ideas in his research at MiiE.

eble@tc.columbia.edu
Elisa Xi Chen

Elisa Xi Chen

Director of Computer Vision

Elisa Chen is a Predoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. She received her M.P.P from Harris, and B.A in Mathematics, History, and Economics from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Elisa is interested in development economics, with a focus on gender and inequality. Her long-term goal is to use a combination of methods such as field experiments and computational tools to conduct research that benefits people living on the periphery in developing countries.

Elisa joins the MiiE Lab with the belief that every child needs a superhero or role model that shares the same attributes as them to be the best version of themselves. And children’s books are one of the first few sites that compete for representation. Prior to joining the MiiE Lab, Elisa has worked for several non-profit organizations nation-wide on the intersection of data science, law, development, and public policy, including Asian Law Caucus, UChicago Crime and Education Lab, and the Coase-Sandor Institute for Law and Economics.

Among many adventures and surreal experiences in children’s books, Elisa’s greatest childhood fantasy is to become a member of the X-men, a band of mutants and visionaries who work together towards something bigger than themselves. With that dream in mind, she is ready to embark on her journey at the MiiE lab.

 

xchen97@uchicago.edu
Jake Nicoll

Jake Nicoll

Research Assistant

Jake is a second year in the MS-CAPP Program at Harris. He graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Math and Physics. He then entered Harris in hopes of gaining data science skills and pursuing a career in policy research. In particular, he is interested in education policy, as well as in how early-childhood influences can shape education-related outcomes. He is excited about the creativity of MiiE Lab’s application of NLP techniques to the text of children’s books, and he hopes to participate in this frontier-pushing approach to quantifying representation in these texts. When Jake was growing up, a book that resonated with him was Timothy Twinge. The
book was about a boy who got overly anxious about ridiculous things, with the common refrain of “Timothy Twinge worried a lot about things that might happen and things that might not.” The story was a helpful reminder for Jake, who struggled with anxiety, to
keep problems in perspective.

 Hakizumwami Birali Runesha

Hakizumwami Birali Runesha

Founding Member, Principal Investigator

As assistant vice president for research computing and director of the Research Computing Center, Hakizumwami Birali Runesha provides leadership and vision for advancing all aspects of research computing strategies at the University of Chicago. He is responsible for the design, configuration, and administration of centrally managed high-performance computing (HPC) systems and related services across the University. In addition, he provides access to advanced technical expertise, user support, advice, and training to the research community. Dr. Runesha is a seasoned professional who brings to the University of Chicago HPC management leadership and more than 17 years of experience in high-performance computing and scientific software development. He earned his MS and Ph.D. in civil engineering at Old Dominion University.

runesha@uchicago.edu
Rachel White

Rachel White

Faculty Affiliate

Rachel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and the founder of The Superintendent Lab. Her research centers around 1) issues of power, voice, diversity, and inclusion in education policy making and implementation processes, and 2) examining structures and policies that contribute to or counteract equitable and socially just K-12 education.

Dr. White is a former local school board member/vice president and volunteer assistant high school cross country and track & field coach. She also previously served as a policy analyst for the Michigan Association for School Administrators and as the Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy for The Ohio College Access Network.

sbreslauer@uchicago.edu
 Teodora Szasz

Teodora Szasz

Consultant

Teodora engages the community of researchers involved in computational image analysis at The University of Chicago across multi-disciplinary areas including: Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Economics, Public Policy, and Cancer Research.
She serves as a catalyst for solving challenging questions in the research teams that she is supporting, such as: predicting oxygen support for COVID-19 patients, detecting prostate cancer, and analysis of messages related to identity in official educational setting. Teodora brings to the field practical expertise in state-of-the-art advanced technology: Supercomputers, Cloud Computing, Machine Learning, Image Analysis Techniques, and Big Data.
Prior to joining RCC, Teodora earned her doctorate degree in Computer Science at Toulouse University in France. She won international challenges (IUS PICMUS 2016) in beamforming for ultrasound medical imaging.
Dora cannot forget the long nights reading Jules Verne and imagining herself in all his adventures. So far, she has lived in four countries, she speaks more than four languages, and she is passionate about all kinds of technological innovations, e.g.,: wearable electronics. She is bringing to MiiE this call for adventure that she learned from her heroes: Professor Lidenbrock and Richard Kennedy.

tszasz@uchicago.edu
Celia Zhu

Celia Zhu

Predoctoral Fellow

Celia is a research assistant at the Harris School of Public Policy, the University of Chicago. She studied International Relations as an undergrad and received her master’s degree in Public Policy from Harris. Through her education, she realized that she is more interested in the study of human flourishing. She is passionate about the research in the formation of human capital, ending poverty, and creating a more inclusive society. Her favorite book from childhood is the Harry Potter series. The courage, loyalty, and honesty of Harry and his friends have inspired her to stand up for the people she loves and the things she believes in.
xiling@uchicago.edu
 Marie Grace Giramahoro

Marie Grace Giramahoro

Research Assistant

Marie Grace Giramahoro is an MPP candidate and Pearson Fellow at the Harris School of Public Policy, where she is pursuing a certificate in Data Analytics to complement her degree. She holds a Bachelor of Science in International Agriculture and Rural Development from Cornell University. She has a keen interest in education policy, particularly how education equity can be advanced through addressing disparities in education opportunity and attainment.
During her spare time, Grace enjoys doing community service, traveling, exploring new restaurants, and watching movies.
Matt Bonci

Matt Bonci

Research Assistant

Matt is a MACRM candidate at the Harris School of Public Policy. As an
undergraduate, he majored in Economics and Mathematics at
Binghamton University. With his course of study, he aims to create a
strong foundation for developing data-oriented solutions that maximize
the common good. He believes that public policy can serve as a link
between understanding how the world works and improving it.
For Matt, learning is elevated when a genuine interest in the subject
matter has been sparked. Curiosity inspires one to ask why or how; the
answers both broaden knowledge and fuel deeper interest; more
questions emerge; the cycle continues. One of Matt’s favorite
children’s books, Harold and the Purple Crayon, is about a young boy
who, with a magic crayon, creates the world he wants around him.
Matt believes a line can be drawn between this early read and his
current ambition to contribute to shaping our world.

mbonci@uchicago.edu
Benjamin Leiva

Benjamin Leiva

Research Assistant

Benjamin is an MSCAPP candidate from the Harris School of Public Policy. He graduated from the University of Chile with a bachelor’s degree in economics and holds a master’s degree in economics from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. He is passionate about designing data-driven approaches that combine economics and computer science techniques to solve complex public policy issues, especially in education. Since young age Benjamin enjoys reading fantasy books series like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, as well as magic realism classics like One Hundred Years of Solitude. The messages and illustrations in these works sparked Benjamin’s interest into pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved when imagination runs loose.
bleiva@uchicago.edu
Eric Pan

Eric Pan

Research Assistant

Eric is a rising 3rd year undergraduate student at the University of Chicago majoring in Mathematics with a specialization in Economics. He is passionate about using mathematical and computational methods to quantify social problems and to inform policy implementations. Eric has loved to read as far back as elementary school, even occasionally getting into trouble for sneaking a few pages in class when he was supposed to be working on assignments. When subsequently put in detention, he would daydream about what it would be like to exist in the worlds of his books.

epan02@uchicago.edu
Peter Bergman

Peter Bergman

Faculty Affiliate

Peter is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Texas at Austin and the founder of Learning Collider. He serves as Co-Chair of the Improving Education Outcomes in North America Initiative at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT and is a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is also an Innovation Fellow at Schmidt Futures; a Distinguished Affiliate at CESifo; and a Research Affiliate at the Institute for Labor Economics. In entrepreneurial research endeavors, he started EdNudge, which was acquired by AllHere, for which he remains an advisor.

Ansumana Konneh

Ansumana Konneh

Research Assistant

Ansumana is an MPP student and Pearson Fellow at the Harris School of Public Policy. He
earned his BA degree in Global Challenges from the African Leadership University in Rwanda. He is committed to understanding education pedagogy and ways and approaches that increase access to education, especially for those from low-income families to increase social mobility and ensure socio-economic development.

Ansumana grew up reading Liberian literary authors like Bai T. Moore (Murder in the Casava Patch, Ebony Dust) and Wilton Sankawolo (The Rain and the Night, Why Nobody Knows When He Will Die, and The Marriage of Wisdom). The stories and poems of these authors left a great impression on him, and he hopes, to one day keep the torch of that legacy alive.

Paula Dastres Gallardo

Paula Dastres Gallardo

Research Assistant

Paula is a MACRM candidate at the Harris School of Public Policy. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and a master’s degree in Public Policy, both awarded by the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Chile. Her research interest lies in contributing to the understanding of the motivations or biases behind people’s behavior, which emerge at an early age. She is also interested in studying how these behaviors influence educational and occupational outcomes, as well as how individuals respond to incentives. Since childhood and to the present day, Paula has found joy in writing and reading as tools for learning and expressing herself freely. Her favorite childhood book, Matilda by Ronald Dahl, played a crucial role in deepening her appreciation for the impact books and their content have on shaping
our perception of the world.

Krittika Kashyap

Communications Research Assistant

Krittika, a graduate student in the Social Sciences Division, holds a keen research interest in exploring education and inequality within India. Her aspiration is to integrate mixed methods into her research endeavors. Prior to joining UChicago, she worked in the fields of education policy. Krittika’s lifelong passion for reading has been a constant companion, with childhood favorites such as Famous Five, Nancy Drew, and the Secret Seven playing a pivotal role in nurturing her innate curiosity and awakening her inner researcher.

krittika@uchicago.edu

 

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