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I was born in Washington D.C. but grew up in Pittsburgh, P.A. with five of my seven siblings. After graduating from high school, I took a “gap year” to save money and travel on a shoestring before going to college. From 2002-2006 I studied economics at Reed College in Portland, OR. Under the supervision of my advisor and dear friend, Kim Clausing, I wrote a senior thesis on Child Labor and the International Labor Organization. The project piqued my long term interests in institutions and social policy reform.
In the year after college I was a Watson Fellow. During this time I backpacked alone through south and southeast Asia, and then Mexico and Central America. My project was learning about development assistance in the wake of natural disasters. Upon returning to the United States, I worked as a research assistant at the Economic Growth Center at Yale University, learning how to program and to design and analyze household surveys. The experiences on my Watson fellowship and at the Economic Growth Center motivated me to organize a debate on field experiments at Yale in 2009. The fruit of this debate was an edited volume Field Experiments and Their Critics, which examines the promises and perils of social science field experiments.
In 2009 I started in the Ph.D. program in Political Science at Yale, and in 2013 I moved to the London School of Economics as an LSE Research Fellow. I received my Ph.D. in May 2015 and joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania as Assistant Professor in 2015.
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