“My research is intended to have broad policy implications regarding the unintended consequences and benefits of pre-k policies, the potential of utilizing market forces to improve school quality, and the ‘active ingredients’ in later schooling environments that serve to sustain early learning gains,” Zhang said. “Methodologically, my dissertation contributes to the advancement of casually driven research in the field of ECE by using multiple large-scale longitudinal datasets and experimental and quasi-experimental designs.”
The AERA-NSF Grants Program supports highly competitive dissertation research that employs rigorous quantitative methods to examine large-scale, education-related data and advance fundamental knowledge of relevance to STEM policy.
Zhang is specializing in Educational Policy and Social Context (EPSC) for her doctoral work. Her research interests include early childhood education, education policy, and program evaluation. She holds a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Social Work from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China. Prior to her enrollment in the doctoral program, she worked as an early childhood home visitor serving disadvantaged immigrant children and families in Chicago.
Distinguished Professor George Farkas and Assistant Professor Jade Jenkins serve as Zhang’s co-advisors.
“Qing’s dissertation proposal is nothing short of outstanding, examining important, substantively interesting issues in early childhood policy implementation and scale-up,” Jenkins said.