Erika A. Patall, PhD

Originally from Rochester, New York, Erika received her doctorate in Social Psychology from Duke University and became an Associate Professor in Education at University of Southern California in January 2017. Broadly, she is interested in the interface between social psychological theory and education. The topics Erika has studied include the role of choice and autonomy in motivation, the role of motivation-based factors in achievement outcomes, how the activities of children outside of school influence their academic achievement, and the development and use of meta-analytic methods in social science research. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and daughter and going to concerts and art exhibits.

Curriculum Vitae | Email Dr. Erika A. Patall

Graduate Students

Nicole Yates picNicole Yates

Nicole Yates is a PhD candidate in Urban Education at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education. She earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s of Psychology from Stanford University and her Master’s thesis focused on the reasons students leave STEM majors for non-STEM majors. Prior to attending USC, Nicole worked as the senior research analyst for the National Society of Black Engineers. Her current research interests include motivation in high achieving students of color and broadening participation in STEM.

Curriculum Vitae | Email Nicole Yates


A Kennedy_HeadshotAlana Kennedy

Alana is a first-year doctoral student in the Urban Education Policy program with a concentration in educational psychology at the University of Southern California. Her prior experience as an Executive Director for a financial literacy nonprofit coupled with her experience as a researcher at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) affirmed her interest in research that addresses real problems of practice in the education field. Alana is interested in the effect of student attitudes and emotions on persistence and learning in formal and informal learning environments, particularly for urban students from low-socioeconomic status backgrounds. In her spare time, Alana enjoys traveling with her husband, hiking, and reading.

Curriculum Vitae | Email Alana Kennedy


Jeanette_PicBio1Jeanette Zumbrano

Jeanette is a first-year doctoral student in Urban Education Policy with a concentration in Educational Psychology at the University of Southern California. Broadly, her interests are in motivational processes and the social psychological influences on interest development and achievement. Previously, her research examined how course assignments and materials influence student interest and how other people can shape one’s interests and goals, particularly through conversations or anticipated conversations. Her current research interests include the use of meta-analysis in education and increasing engagement and achievement in foundational science courses. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, watching movies, and reading.

Curriculum Vitae | Email Jeanette Zambrano



Associated Individuals
Neil Jacobson
Derek Hansen
Shengjie Lin
Eboneigh Harris
Jeong-hyun (Jonna) Lee
Danika Maddocks
Jen Freeman

MERG Alumni
Sarah Daniel, PhD | Assistant Professor, Shenandoah University
Breana Sylvester-Dacy, PhD | Research Associate, The University of Texas at Austin
Sara J. Jones, PhD | Assistant Professor, University of Houston
Cheon-woo Han, PhD | Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Illinois a Chicago
Christina Cestone, PhD | Assistant Professor, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Robin Zuniga, PhD | Program evaluation, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Bridget Lee, PhD | Postdoctoral Researcher, The Ohio State University
Carlton Fong, PhD | Assistant Professor, Texas State University
Elric Elias| Graduate student, University of Denver
Lisa Pine, MA
Scott Trimble, MA
Lauren Wilson, MA
Julie Heier
Jennifer Kay Leach, PhD | Coordinator of Major and Career Decision Making, Oregon State University
Ariana C. Vasquez, PhD | Survey Manager, Gerson Lehrman Group
Rebecca Steingut, PhD | Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Teachers College, Columbia University
Eunjin Seo, PhD | Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Texas State University
Nayantara Kurpad, MA
David Osman, PhD | Director of Research and Evaluation at Round Rock ISD
Sophia Yang Hooper| Associate Data Scientist at Anaconda Inc.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Present Anjali Kumar, Rose Aristakessian, Sherry Wei, Jennifer Sung, So Dam Park

Past Victoria Nava, Sean McNamara, James Thomas, Scott Trimble, Jude Cheung, Suzy Han, Nick Zhang, Andrew Corrigan, Kebron Daniel, Emily Chan, Maddie Wright, Caroline Little, Priya Thomas, Nancy Wheless, Priyanka Thomas, Stephanie Marrett, Susie Park, Josh Gu, Veronica Yvette Martinez, Wei-Lin Tsai, Zohra Goka, Ira Gupta, Nikhita Khanderia, Kevin Deluca, Astrid Villalpando, Victoria Haring, Peyton Perez, Stephanie Shin, Brettny John, Alexander Powell, Leila Nasr, John Ledesma, Jeff Stroup, Min Hyung Lee, Amanda Hildebrand, David Rubio, Jacqueline Vorlop, Misty Walmsley, Courtney McKeever, Gabby McDaniel, Alma Rosado, Mahroosa Haideri, Molly Marek, Thoa Pham, Woojeong Kim, Denisse Carrasco


One Comment on “People”

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