The MiiE Team
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.
Founding Member, Junior Investigator
Co-Founder, Principal Investigator
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.
Hakizumwami Birali Runesha
Founding Member, Principal Investigator
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.
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.
Marie Grace Giramahoro
During her spare time, Grace enjoys doing community service, traveling, exploring new restaurants, and watching movies.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.