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School of Education

Kati Tilley

Ph.D. in Education – Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics

After working as a research assistant as an undergraduate in a social psychology lab at the University of Delaware, I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in research. I became interested in the School of Education’s (SOE) Ph.D. program specializing in evaluation, measurement, and statistics (EMS) when I was working as a research assistant on a mixed-methods evaluation project at the Center for Training, Evaluation, & Community Collaboration. I met with faculty from SOE and learned about the project I would work on during my assistantship.

Not only was the project fascinating and important, but the EMS faculty was an amazing group of scholars. When I was accepted into the program, they became my advisors and assistantship supervisors and value my unique contributions to their team.

I have not regretted my decision. Through my assistantship, I have:

  • learned firsthand how a large-scale, multi-year project goes from proposal to action;
  • collaborated with a team to develop interview protocols, consent forms, and recruiting strategies/materials;
  • conducted and analyzed more than 40 semi-structured interviews with members of the education research and practice communities;
  • and been introduced to new analysis software such as SAS for quantitative data and UCINet for social network data.

I have also gained critical experience in communicating research findings. In order for my future research to have real-world impact, it is vital that I am able to successfully communicate within academia and beyond.

I have now co-authored two published academic writing projects, a book chapter and a manuscript published in the peer-reviewed academic journal, Educational Researcher. I have also facilitated a presentation at a conference of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, co-presented a paper at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, and independently presented a poster at a conference of the Eastern Evaluation Research Society.

One of the most valuable experiences I have had was learning to write and present results to a non-academic audience. I led the development of an individualized report of survey results and presented them in person to the schools that participated in our study.