Marking Ten Years as a PhD

It’s officially been ten years since I graduated with my PhD in Economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. I had already been teaching for a semester at Gettysburg College, having defended my doctoral thesis after sending it to my committee five months earlier from a friend’s apartment while he packed our rafts in the parking lot for a week-long trip on the Green River.

But honestly, that’s a story for another time. As I think about the ten years I have spent working in education and international development since earning those letters, and especially the last two years of upheaval/new normal/uncertainty that has marked our professional and personal lives, and what it means to be a leader in all of that.

I led a team at a very young age, likely before I was ready for it, and definitely before I had any skills to do it. I don’t mean the Head Lifeguard and Pool Manager job, though that was certainly formative in other ways. I mean when I inadvertently ran a newsroom at 23.

I left my job from straight out of college for Venezuela after a year. I had learned a ton about about econometrics and pricing and data and as the phone books started to roll around again, I said I was bored with the repetition. I was really just heartbroken and too agitated to see what else I could have learned, but nonetheless, Caracas was where my friends were. It was where I had turned 21, where I could go out dancing all night, where I could write, where I could go to the beach every weekend, where I could not constantly run into the ghosts of my ex-boyfriend.

I was running away.

So I stumbled into a newsroom on the recommendation of my former editor with the confidence of a new college grad who’d been told she could write and whose journalism experience you could count on one hand–in months. I was expecting a job as a cub reporter with mentoring, and a new boss, and a chance to write about crumbling roads and oil prices and to watch Alo, Presidente all day on Sundays waiting for the President to say something of note that we could splash across the front page. The writing was in store for me. The mentoring, not so much.

On my first day, the Nation Editor announced she was leaving. And I would be taking over, as the other native English speaker on staff was only interested in writing the crime reports–a sad, macabre necessity in Caracas that he truly excelled at. As the seasoned reporter scanned crime news for inclusion in his colorful daily column, a woman whose journalism experience exceeded the years I had been alive was leaving me in charge of a newsroom, layout, story choices, leafing through press releases, and more. I wasn’t the final word, at least in theory, but the relative absence of the editor until the late hours of the night meant I was to make a lot of decisions.

I have been thinking this week about how many mistakes I made in that role, about how truly awful I was at it, I’m sure. I trusted people I shouldn’t have. I didn’t trust others I should have, others with far more experience than I had. I thought I was responsible for every little decision, overextended myself, and overstepped. I hired folks out of desperation, only to have them fall severely short of expectations. I did not ask enough questions. I did not pay enough attention to detail. I mixed up Spanish cognates and definitely printed at least one story that where the main figure should have been billions and I said it was millions. Or was it vice versa? I didn’t get to do all the fun cub reporter things I had imagined doing.

I also learned where my ethics and morality lay when it came to my writing and politics. Turning a story about International Women’s Day into a story about how women were turning out for Chavez proved to be the straw; I am sure no reader is surprised there.

I also put out a paper, every day, for six months or so, with the help of a lot of talented journalists and layout folks and copy editors and editors and sources who answered my phone calls and provided press releases.

And I learned a ton about leading a team, about managing expectations, about people, about my limitations, about managing up, about keeping folks motivated, about problem-solving when expectations fall short, about pivoting at the last minute, about taking in new information and reacting to it, about planning and camaraderie, about taking care of each other, about listening.

When I left Caracas, I knew that working in a newsroom was not for me. I tried moonlighting as a freelancer, did some fixing for visiting journalists, even started researching a book. I don’t know if I would have been better at those things had I had a more typical cub reporter experience. Would I still be a journalist? Would I write more? I don’t know. But I do know that the responsibility made me into a better leader and a better listener. Those six months shaped my post-PhD years, offering skills to take outside academia, and perspective to lead new teams.

As we head into our second coronavirus winter here in the northern hemisphere with the looming threat of climate change and the indefinite change in how we work, I’m grateful for that experience, and am keeping it close at hand as navigate these weird waters.


Underdiagnosis of childhood pneumonia in Tanzania, or Erin’s first public health journal publication

When I started at R4D two and a half years ago, one of the programs I was working on asked if I could help take a recent engagement and turn it into a scholarly paper. I’ve worked on lots of papers and enjoy it and so both enthusiastically assented and optimistically asserted we could have a draft out for review in 6 months. I thought I was being pessimistic, if I’m being honest. Surely an idea this far along wouldn’t need that much ushering.

I severely underestimated the effort that it takes to get a bunch of busy professionals to comment on a write-up of old work, to make sure I understood the sampling strategy they’d used and how it might affect my econometrics, and the sheer logistical effort that it is to get 10 people in four countries to agree to a publication strategy.

But by April 2020, we were ready to go!

Only in April 2020, if you weren’t writing about coronavirus, no one wanted to read your public health paper. After a few quick rejections (they literally said they were only focusing on COVID19 papers right now), we landed on a review process at BMJ Open.

The world of public health scholarly work was a new one to me. It was like being in grad school again, learning which papers to cite and in which order, how to write a structured abstract, being told (for probably the fifth time) that sample size went into results–not methods–and other things I’ll probably never understand.

And here we are, a year later, I have my first public health journal publication and honestly, it’s a doozy!

Using a unique combination of an observational and clinical protocol, we show how childhood pneumonia goes severely underdiagnosed at public health facilities in Tanzania. On the order of only 18% of cases are correctly diagnosed. Now, normally, you’d anticipate that this means some 72% of cases go untreated. But they don’t. Half of these cases actually receive the correct antibiotics to treat the condition, even if they aren’t correctly diagnosed.

The corollary, of course, is that antibiotics are also being prescribed to children who don’t have pneumonia, and may not need antibiotics. So we are both underdiagnosing and overtreating the problem. Tanzania has one of the world’s highest burdens of childhood pneumonia, so both of these have huge implications for children affected.

I think we did some neat work, looking at correlates of correct diagnosis and bounding of the effect using simulation. Check it out at BMJ Open.

Many thanks to my R4D co-authors: Taylor Salisbury, Jean Arkedis, Cammie Lee; IDInsight co-authors: Alice Redfern and Allison Connor; and Government of Tanzanian co-authors: Ntuli A Kapologwe, Julius Massaga, Naibu Mkongwa, and Balowa Musa.

I am safe, but I am not okay

The texts started rolling in around 4pm MDT. I got out of the pool and chatted with my coach and made my way, soaking wet and hair freezing stiff, back to the car. I glanced at my phone before heading home and my only thought was, I can’t. I don’t want to know.

You might think, well, she must be thinking if she doesn’t know about it, it won’t be real. She can delude herself into believing a situation is truly non-existent if the details are fuzzy enough. But it wasn’t that. I knew what had happened, even though I didn’t open twitter or the news app, even though no text message mentioned the actual event. You just know.

My adult life has been punctuated by these alerts. First in the form of an interrupted business economics class–why we were watching basketball during class on April 20th will never be quite clear to me, but that our world had dramatically changed was crystal–then in this form, text messages.

Are you safe?

Is your family okay?

Please tell me your parents weren’t grocery shopping this afternoon.

Because you know where someone’s parents grocery shop. It’s the same grocery store you shopped at when you lived down the street from them. It’s where you bought yourself a package of peanut M&Ms once a week to try to forget for five minutes about how difficult grad school was. It’s next to Neptune’s where you had your teles mounted after too many years of them sitting in a closet. It’s next to the Sun, where you played hours and hours of Scrabble and celebrated Stout Month every February and met that one boyfriend who later married your friend’s labmate and grabbed a beer with your roommates after learning to fly fish. It’s where you carpooled with your roommates to grab groceries and to debate Colorado’s then-archaic blue laws.

Because it’s a small town, Boulder, and for me, it was home, for a long time. Boulder is the place I lived longer than any other besides my childhood home. It’s home for me in all the ways a home is, and so many more, because it’s where I made my own way as an adult, as an economist, as a feminist, as a scholar, as a friend, as a lover.

But I couldn’t be the one to send those text messages yesterday. I could barely read the ones I received. I texted some friends to tell them I loved them, but not anyone who I knew would have been in harm’s way. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t ask whether my stich n’ bitch crew was okay. I couldn’t check in with folks who I knew were still there. I couldn’t even read the news, waiting until this morning to know how many died, waiting until I’d gotten through a difficult conversation with my CEO to know their names.

Because we’ve done this so many times before. Because I’ve gotten these text messages while skiing, upon arriving to a hotel in Kolkata for a wedding, leaving classes and meetings and doctor’s appointments. Because so many moments in my adult life have been shadowed by this dread of not knowing whether someone I loved, or was part of my community, or I just had been at drivers’ ed with had been wantonly gunned down by someone who had encountered no trouble accessing weapons.

So, yes, I am safe, as I posted on twitter yesterday in the only form of outreach I could muster. But I am not okay.

What You’re Feeling is Grief

60815764515__C2B82688-53CC-4A0E-AC79-85E815828994I had an early morning meeting this weekend with a colleague at a data collection firm we’ve been working with. He said he was taking next week off and was headed to Costa del Couch. We all laughed, but I noted internally that I’ve had conversations with several colleagues this week about taking time off or leave during these weird times–from childcare or our jobs or searching for jobs–and while it may seem counterintuitive to take a break when we can’t escape the way we normally do, I wanted to share with the world that it’s really important to take time away right now.

I was talking with a psychologist friend recently about pulling our pneumonia survey and delaying our Nigeria intervention and my concerns about our partners and staff and he stopped me and said, “Erin, are you talking to anyone about this?” He went on to say, “what you’re feeling is grief.”

It struck me in that moment that while I have been saying for many weeks now that our world will not be the same after this, saying it is not the same as feeling it and acknowledging it. We’re all experiencing huge changes in the way we’re able to live our lives right now. With or without family, with or without friends, all of us without our normal level of travel and cultural and personal connections and sense of purpose that comes with our work, a decreased ability to do work, a decreased ability to support our partners and staff in other countries, a need to engage more deeply with being alone or being intimately with a small group of people, and sometimes both. There’s a good chance we might not be able to travel internationally again this year. There’s a good chance we may see our offices and friends for only a few weeks at a time before having to go back to lockdown again and again. Our favorite restaurants and gyms and daycares and museums are closed and some may never re-open. There’s a good chance that by the time you read this, our projections of what the next few weeks or months will look like will change dramatically (now my standard COVID caveat).

I want to acknowledge that there is a profound loss associated with all of these changes, and it’s perfectly okay to feel that, however you’re experiencing it.

To anyone who is struggling to articulate their feelings these days, anyone who is feeling particularly agitated or lethargic or sad or frustrated or confused (I really think I covered the gamut here), it’s worth reading the following article in Harvard Business Review. I found it helpful to have someone tease out the contours of grief during these weird times and as encouragement to take a step back and a break, where possible. I would encourage everyone to take some time to feel things right now, because we are indeed grieving, even if we haven’t lost anyone to this disease yet—though some of us are experiencing that, too.

And with that, wishing everyone a Chag Sameach, Happy Easter, or good rest tonight and this weekend. Sending all the comfort and hugs I can muster across the interwebs. Please do reach out if there’s anything I can do for you.

Online amusement in the age of coronovirus

Let’s face it, social distancing is sad. #CancelEverything is sad. Isolation and quarantine are sad. But as long as we’re testing the capabilities of zoom and other videoconferencing software and agreeing to stay at least 6 feet away from people, we might as well see and hear beautiful things. The world’s symphonies, museums, aquariums, and artists are providing access to their joy online. This is a running list, please let me know if you hear of others and I will update.

While these are all free, please consider making donations to your favorite museums and arts spaces, and artists and musicians to lessen the burden on all in this difficult time.*


  1. You’ll get a form in the mail this week. Fill it online before April 1 with some really basic information on you and your family. This helps in so many ways.
    1. We get quick, accurate information to better assess how to allocate public services and political representation.
    2. It means a stranger doesn’t have to go knocking on your door in a month looking for you and possibly spreading this virus further.


  1. Berlin Philharmonic is offering free access to its online concerts. Use the code BERLINPHIL when you check out.
  2. The Metropolitan Opera will be HD streaming a recorded opera every evening at 7:30pm ET on their website starting March 16.
  3. The Seattle Symphony will be sharing videos, live-streams, and other broadcasts every evening at 7:30pm PDT.
  4. The Vienna State Opera has opened its video archives and will be playing ballets and operas online at 7pm or 5pm CET (registration required).
  5. Yo-Yo Ma is occasionally posting #SongsofComfort on twitter. This man is a national treasure. If you’ve never had the opportunity to hear him play, do try. I bawled like a baby when I got to see him at Tanglewood a few years ago.


  1. The National Gallery of Art has several exhibitions online and also has kid activities for download.
  2. Here’s a list of 11 other museums from around the world that you can visit online.


  1. The Monterrey Bay Aquarium has webcams available of its many different sea environments.
  2. Two baby eagles were born at Chincoteague National Park last month and they have a webcam! They post occasional videos and the eaglets are adorable.
  3. The Denver Zoo has a baby rhino and the videos they are posting are amazing.
  4. Big Bear Valley Eagle Nest Cam


  1. LibriVox offers a ton of free audiobooks for a range of books whose copyrights have expired, read by volunteers. I’ve been listening to Evangeline and it’s great
  2. Kindle and Apple Books also offer books for free whose copyrights have expired.
  3. If you have a library card, you can get Kindle Books through Overdrive. Here are instructions on how to set it up.
  4. You can download 300,000 books from the NYPL for free.
  5. Reach, Incorporated, a DC-based literacy non-profit, has its teen authors reading their books on their youtube channel and keeps updating with new content.
  6. Audible has a free 30-day trial for audiobooks and has made some titles free.


  1. Down Dog App is an at-home yoga and barre app that’s free to download and use through April 1.
  2. The Ballet Physique streaming studio is a Denver, CO-based barre studio with great instructors and has a 14-day free trial.
  3. Les Mills has a bunch of free HIIT workouts on their website for quick, hard cardio workouts.


  1. Scholastic has a bunch of kid activities for download while schools are closed, from pre-K to Grade 6+.
  2. FreeCode Camp has 450 online courses you can take for free.
  3. National Geographic also has a lot of kids’ homeschooling resources, Pre-K to 12.


  1. St. John’s Episcopal Church in DC is live-streaming church services

*Edited and restructured as the list gets longer. Keep sending them!

Women’s Employment in Afghanistan

A few years ago, a colleague at Towson got in touch and asked if I had any data from that refugee project I had worked on. He had an honors student with a lot of promise, he said, and wouldn’t it be cool to work on a paper together? I, having little time or incentive (as a then-independent consultant/researcher/quasi-academic/whatever) to publish, loved the idea of getting some of that hard work into the public sphere. When that student graduated and we had one paper published, we kept going, writing another paper with the refugee data, and then cajoled another student into working with us, too, on an idea about terrorism and women’s employment in Afghanistan.

As if I couldn’t be happier to work with this crew, the wins keep coming. I’m very excited to announce that this paper with Seth and Lauren Cahalan came to fruition and has been accepted at Oxford Development Studies! In light of a heavily publicized paper on time to publication in economics, it’s worth noting this paper saw its fair share of rejection, but ultimately was about 2.5 years from idea to paper acceptance. We’re very excited.

We ask two main research questions in the paper:

  1. Is the number of terrorist attacks and casualties associated with women’s employment?
  2. Is that relationship different for men?

Theoretically, we hypothesized it could go either way. If terrorist attacks are more likely to directly affect male mortality, then perhaps women need to enter the workforce to provide for their families. On the other hand, if more attacks make the perceived security situation worse, male decision makers may be less likely to permit women to work.

Overall, both men’s and women’s employment go down at about the same rate (though disproportionate against the baseline) when the number of attacks goes up, supporting the fear and security hypothesis. But women’s employment actually goes up when there are more casualties, supporting the replacement hypothesis. Ultimately this increase is small, and only holds up in rural areas for women in non-agricultural work

I love this paper for lots of reasons besides stellar coauthors. It was so neat to watch Lauren build her Stata skills through the careful matching of datasets and then really dig into the econometrics. Topically, it continues a really fun strand of my work on women in the labor force with the added context of conflict-affected space.

The abstract is below, but I think there are few important things to come out of this paper.

The first is that causality is hard here. We look at lagged variables to try to show how changes in number of events and casualties changes labor force participation down the line, but it’s likely that attacks aren’t random and may even be related to the number of women in the workforce.

The second is that there are some really interesting rural/urban differences, much of which appears to be driven by which sectors are already accepting of women, but could be driven by underreporting of agricultural work by women as we see in other parts of the world.

Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous countries for women and has the sixth lowest women’s employment rate globally. The low participation rate represents a large loss of potential economic activity and raising it could have large effects on growth. Security concerns are a key underlying barrier preventing women from working, but there is little work estimating the magnitude of a mechanism behind these effects. We address this gap in the literature by estimating the relationship between terrorism and women’s employment. We link a representative household survey, the 2015 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), to the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), which catalogues terrorist attacks, locations, and fatalities. We find that the number of attacks per month in a given province is negatively associated in the following month to both men’s and women’s employment, yet the relative magnitude is larger for women due to their low employment rate. Conversely, we find that fatalities from these attacks are positively associated with women’s employment in non-agricultural sector in rural areas. This research illuminates a potential link between women’s employment and terrorism, thus adding to the ever-increasing knowledge of the costs of conflict.


Seth, Lauren and I had lunch on Saturday at an Afghani restaurant in DC and it was a reminder of how much fun these have been for me. Seth has turned these initial two projects with students into a veritable researcher training ground, with Slack groups and lab meetings and a steady stream of excellent students who are asking interesting questions, learning the ins and outs of econometric analysis, and generally killing it. If you have the desire to do research with undergrads–including and especially practitioners–check out the work Seth has done to create lessons learned from this group. Or! Bring him a research idea and ask him who the next Savannah or Lauren is; I’m sure you’ll get a good one!

Workforce and Skills Measurement Guidance

Some of my favorite problems to tackle are those of measurement. For instance, how do we think about social norms, but in a quantitative way? And, is it even possible to create a universal (or even multiple-country) indicator for women’s empowerment (been thinking about this one A LOT lately). Over the past year, I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about how to measure skills, and specifically, how USAID should measure changes in skills as the causal effect of its workforce development programs all over the world.

Turns out, this question is not even remotely trivial, but I’m very excited to share some recently released guidance on exactly how USAID plans to incorporate some of the latest and greatest advances in measuring many (but not all) types of skills in its youth programming around the world. This is officially joint work with Catherine Honeyman of World Learning (a delightful collaborator if I do say so myself), but also benefited enormously from a wide consultative process with stakeholders across USAID in DC and around the world as well as implementing partners and peer research organizations working on issues of skills development for youth.

As background, USAID works with youth programming in 60 countries and workforce development programs in 30 countries. All of these programs are working to impart technical, vocational, social-emotional, digital, reading, and mathematics skills (and more) to various program participants. And all of them (yes ALL of them) are required to report back to USAID on their project in various ways.

Alongside, there has been a ton of work recently on how to measure various skill development. As we learn more about the importance of “skills” to labor market outcomes like perseverance or grit and hard-working or dependable, the more necessary it becomes important to measure them in a way that has meaning across different spaces. After lengthy reading and consultation, we identified two skills or groups of skills that were selected to be “standard foreign assistance indicators”–percent individuals with improved soft skills and improved reading skills–and three that have been designated “supplemental indicators,” percent of individuals with improved math skills, percent with digital literacy skills, and percent passing a context-relevant technical skills assessment. More precise wording is in the table, with a much longer justification in the how-to note itself.

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In short, though, it’s really tough to standardize measures across all those countries and all those contexts.

I won’t lie to you; we did not find all the answers. However, I think the note provides an excellent jumping off point for ongoing conversations on how to measure important workforce development programming outcomes and highlights important gaps in our understanding of how to measure these outcomes in a consistent and useful way. Please reach out if you have ideas!

We also put together a fun (measurement is FUN, I SAY!) FAQ that you can read here.

Paper Acceptance Day!

When I was working for myself, I had a lot of conversations with development practitioners that started with an element of intuition, and ended with one of frustration:

“We think X thing is happening, but we’re not really sure…” or “we think we could do this thing we’re doing better…” and then “…but we don’t have the technical skills on staff,” or “…we’ve asked like 85 consultants to do this and no one wants to help us.”

Usually, these requests came in fields that I (at the time) was certainly no expert in. Livelihoods analysis, tertiary child protection systems, community-based disaster recovery management programming, etc. They almost always meant diving into new literatures and exploring problems of measurement and data use in ways that were novel and particular and had to somehow hew to the very real limitations faced by those implementing these programs: namely, time, but also expertise and sheer number of people.

These were also the projects that I have loved taking on, taking ideas that are firmly based in practitioner experience and helping make sense of how to use data and econometrics and innovative measurement and descriptive tools in ways that are practical and implementable. Getting to work with inquisitive and innovation-oriented development professionals is one of the things I love best about my job.

I also love when we get to share these projects. I’m super pleased to announce that one such project (or rather, our write-up of the work) has been accepted at World Development!

With Richard Barad, a GIS specialist, and Chris Hillbruner, then Deputy Chief of Party for FEWS NET, we piloted a method to use large-scale household and remote-sensed data to describe livelihoods in a way that was compatible with participatory methods and comprehensible to practitioners in the field. Quick summary:

  1. Collect HEA-compatible variables from large scale household data like the LSMS from the World Bank (agricultural activities, livestock ownership, etc.)
  2. Spatially interpolate these data!
  3. Identify relevant remote-sensed data that pertains to livelihoods (soil quality, ground cover, distance to markets, passable roads, etc.)
  4. Export all the data to grid squares and perform principal components analysis and cluster analysis
  5. Make pretty maps! Go Forth! Discuss! Use to understand food emergencies!


I stress that it’s both because a lot of people we spoke with are pushing forward some neat and innovative methods to do something similar, but in a way that was difficult to implement. What we propose is certainly still in beta, but we think can be put in place quickly to inform emergency situations and to validate other types of data collection.

Abstract below, and a yet-to-be-finalized copy is here and tweetstorm is here.

Understanding livelihoods patterns is a key component of food security and poverty analysis. The Household Economy Approach (HEA) is a leading method of conceptualizing, organizing, and analyzing information on livelihoods systems that is widely used within the food security analysis community. This approach is typically informed by data collected using qualitative methods. However, the increasing availability of large-scale household survey datasets presents an opportunity to explore the degree to which these data can be used to strengthen HEA analysis. Here, we present the results of a novel pilot study that uses large-scale household survey data to create livelihoods products for Nigeria, using a combination of spatial interpolation, principal component analysis, and cluster analysis. We show how these techniques can leverage existing data to create low-cost maps of quantitatively described livelihoods that are stable over time and conceptually consistent with products derived using traditional methods.  We also outline future research for how to incorporate these outputs into practitioner analysis.

*Paper acceptance day was actually yesterday

Child Marriage and Integrated Programming

I spent part of this morning (very early this morning) speaking to a joint meeting of experts on child marriage from UNFPA and UNICEF from the South Asia region. Earlier this year, I coauthored a directed literature review of white papers and scholarly literature from 2014 to 2018 on child marriage in South Asia and was asked to share some thoughts and findings.

The paper is forthcoming, and I’ll be sure to post it when it’s available, but presenting the findings very briefly this morning to my colleagues forced me to think about big picture lessons. In doing so, my thoughts coalesced on one important point. Namely, as the research around child marriage has evolved, so too has the thinking about how to address the problem, changing from a single-minded, narrowly focused assignment of poverty as the root cause and thus poverty alleviation as the solution, to nuanced understanding of the heterogeneity of the experiences of child brides and the deep cultural, social, political, legal, and normative institutions that shape both the practice and responses to programming designed to stem it.

Viewing child marriage as a systems problem, one that is subject to feedback loops and responsive in ways we may not fully expect or plan for (externalities or unintended consequences) is an increasingly recognized and necessary way to view programming. In addition, the increasing recognition of the subnational heterogeneity and increasing availability of quality data and studies on particular groups and their child marriage institutions is an important step in better placing the problem in its social and political contexts. I’m excited to see continued work in this area that recognizes, for instance, how cash transfers may increase secondary school attainment and delay the very youngest child marriage, but also increase marriage at age 18, or how outlawing child marriage may influence sex selection, or how to make girls’ empowerment and agency interventions effective and safe for girls in an environment with strong, persistent patriarchal norms, or how norms that appear to be changing and flexible may be more pliant in the face of macro-economic changes and individual-level shocks. Developing methods and evaluation tools to test the efficacy of integrated programming is a frontline problem for child marriage programming, as well as other social programming.

All said, there are so many exciting areas of research, and I love being deeply ensconced in these debates with scholars and practitioners. Paper to come shortly!


Some Personal/Professional News

Fall is marked by change, and while the aspens are turning yellow all over Colorado, it seems it’s my turn, too. I am very excited to announce that I am joining Results for Development as an Economist/Researcher as of today! R4D guides development projects around the world in the health, nutrition, governance, and education spaces. I will be working with their Rapid Feedback Monitoring, Evaluation, and Rapid Learning Team to bring the technical side of evidence generation and evaluation design in-house, but also supporting projects across the organization in formative research and data analysis with a keen eye towards policy and program design.

It is a phenomenal opportunity, but it is also one that necessitates leaving Colorado and moving to Washington, DC. I am heartbroken, obviously, to leave my family and my mountains.

I am also sad to be leaving behind my own consulting work. I have worked with amazing partners all over the world for the past three years on so many interesting questions. I am grateful to everyone who hired me, worked with me, and let me try out my nutty ideas. FEWS NET, the IRC, Bead For Life/Street Business School, Promethean Community, Al Mokha, are just a few of my awesome partners. I have learned so much from of you, and I think we have accomplished some great things, too.

One of the best things about this R4D job is that my actual job is pretty similar to what I have been doing. I’m handing over much of the administrative work, the sales-y parts, and the risk to a larger organization. (There might even be someone to help me with data cleaning once in awhile! What kind of PhD turns that down?!). In turn, I get more time to think deeply about econometrics, about research, about survey experiments, about evaluative design, about policy, about programming, about equity, about research ethics, about measurement. Can you tell how excited I am?!

I am. I am super excited to join this extremely talented and creative team and take on a new portfolio of work. So, let me know if you’re in DC. Or come visit!

(Also, because several people have asked, I am keeping my house–it’s for rent starting mid-December if you know anyone who wants to live in an adorable 1910s duplex in Washington Park West.)

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