From a Bass Connections Team to a Career in Education Research

February 6, 2019

Jennifer Acosta T’17 describes how her Bass Connections experience laid the foundation for her professional life after Duke

Jennifer Acosta.

For the past year and a half, I have worked as a Project Manager for an NIH-funded early literacy longitudinal intervention study called Baby Books 2 in the Family Involvement Lab at the University of Maryland-College Park. In May, I am starting a position in the Human Services unit at Mathematica Policy Research in Washington, D.C.

My research experience in Education and Human Development through Bass Connections was immensely helpful in clarifying my post-Duke education and career plans. Through my experience with the “Schooling and Parenting” team, I gained skills in qualitative research methods, including interviewing participants and handling participant data, that I now use regularly in my current position (and will be using in my new position, too)!

My experience with Bass Connections didn’t end after I graduated: I also had the opportunity to contribute to a manuscript based on our findings the summer after graduation and, thanks to Bass Connections’ generosity, was able to attend the American Educational Research Association 2018 Annual Meeting to present a poster with my Bass team the following spring (“Teachers’ Racial Biases and the Opportunity Gap: Implications for Black Students’ Academic Success”).

My research experience through Bass Connections was a core piece of my Duke experience and influenced my desire to pursue a career in education research while also providing me with an unforgettable opportunity to gain research skills I now use every day!

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