Category: Alumni, Discovery & Impact, General News

Title: Alumni spotlight: MPP graduates aspire to educate the next generation of policy makers and data scientists

Date Published: October 18, 2021

Bradley Hardy

Dr. Bradley Hardy, a research affiliate of both the University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty and the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, joined the McCourt School in 2021 as an associate professor of economics. 

“The McCourt education really helped expose me to issues of poverty, economic well-being and economic mobility — and my classes took these issues head-on,” said Hardy. 

He was drawn to pursue a Ph.D. by many of the questions and topics he explored while on the Hilltop. “I then landed in academia and love it,” said Hardy. “I think we’re at a moment in the US, and worldwide, where the value proposition for government and public policy education couldn’t be more apparent.” 

As a professor at his alma mater, Hardy feels even more connected to his McCourt experience. “It’s been great to reflect on the relationships I built as a student in the McCourt School,” he said. “Working with those students really helped to fuel the fire for a lot of the topics and questions that I now work on.”

Hardy attributes the education he receives from students as one of the most rewarding aspects of his profession. “I have something to teach them, but one of the really exhilarating aspects of the McCourt community has always been that students come in with great experience and great knowledge themselves. The professors really do get something as well.”

Etai Mizrav

Etai Mizrav, a researcher and consultant for inequality in education and public policy, is pursuing a Ph.D. in Education at George Washington University. 

Mizrav credited McCourt Professors Barbara Schone, Harry Holzer and Nora Gordon in particular for their influence on his McCourt experience. As a graduate student, Mizrav studied education policy analysis and wrote his thesis on school principals’ autonomy. His research was later published in the Georgetown Public Policy Review.

“What I have taken with me from Georgetown is the methodical, diligent pursuit of knowledge through real data and facts. The quantitative analysis skills I gained have accompanied me in my days in government and in consulting, and now in my approach to the research I am writing.”

Mizrav’s previous work as the Manager of Policy and Equity for the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education was a catalyst for his doctoral work and has influenced his dissertation. Mizrav’s current research agenda examines how educational policy produces achievement gaps between students. He recently published a research study exploring the relationship between segregation and inequality in urban and suburban school systems. 

“While there is a lot of scholarship out there on how to close gaps,” said Mizrav, “my focus is on how we are continuing to create them. In my research, I try to show how discriminatory policies, practices and programs form and exacerbate educational inequality.”

Mizrav hopes to pursue academic teaching as a full time or adjunct professor in the future.

Rachel Swindle

Rachel Swindle, a former research consultant at The World Bank, was recently named a research fellow at the Center on Health Insurance Reforms in Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute. 

Swindle’s desire to better understand complex policy issues drove her decision to attend the McCourt School, but the intellectual curiosity she gained while on the Hilltop is what inspired her to pursue a research-focused career. 

During her time at McCourt, Swindle completed internships with the Senate Finance Committee, the ACLU and The World Bank. She initially planned to return to organizing work, but found a passion for research through writing her graduate thesis.  

“​​My thesis advisor and all of my professors played a role in my desire to do research at a higher level — from Professor Judith Feder‘s infectious passion for health policy and Professor Andrew Zeitlin‘s challenging yet intellectually empowering projects to Professor Sheila Foster‘s encouragement and instruction on reading legal statutes and court decisions.” 

Swindle praised the McCourt School for its engaging and thoughtful professors and the opportunity to TA for several classes. These “critical components helped prepare me for a career in academia,” she said. 

“While many McCourt graduates do not pursue doctoral degrees,” said Swindle, “I hope to see more students find their footing in academia and higher education in the coming years.”