The Youth Policy Lab team includes expert researchers, skilled staff and advisors across a variety of fields. We bring our unique perspectives and experiences to each project, and are united in our commitment to creating new opportunities and improving outcomes for Michigan youth.
Brian A. Jacob
Brian A. Jacob is the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy, professor of economics and professor of education at the University of Michigan. He is a faculty research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a member of the editorial boards of journals such as American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics and Education Finance and Policy. He is co-director of the Education Policy Initiative and former director of the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy. He is a former recipient of APPAM’s David N. Kershaw Prize for Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy by Age 40.
He has previously served as a policy analyst in the New York City Mayor’s Office and taught middle school in East Harlem. His current research focuses on school accountability, teacher labor markets and virtual schooling. Most recently, he directed two randomized controlled trials of elementary literacy interventions in Southeast Michigan in collaboration with a local charter authorizer and nonprofit provider.
Robin Tepper Jacob
Robin Tepper Jacob is an associate research professor at the Institute for Social Research and the School of Education at the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Michigan she was a research associate at Abt Associates, Inc. in Cambridge, MA. She has 15 years of experience conducting randomized trials and quasi-experimental evaluations of educational interventions, in a variety of different contexts.
Her experience includes studies of interventions that were designed to impact families, teachers, principals, schools and students and that targeted a wide range of outcomes including early literacy skills, mathematics achievement, executive functioning, and health related outcomes. She has conducted evaluations of federal initiatives, programs developed by nonprofit organizations, as well as those developed by for-profit service providers. She also has considerable expertise in survey design and implementation and the use of quasi-experimental methods for program evaluation.
Andrea Plevek is the Executive Director for the Youth Policy Lab. In her role, she provides executive leadership, administrative management, community outreach, and partnership development for the Lab. Previously, Andrea was the Executive Director of the Washtenaw County Office of Community & Economic Development and has worked for over fifteen years in the nonprofit and public sectors driving community development, systems change, and social justice efforts. She holds a BA in Political Science from Kalamazoo College and an MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work.
As a project manager for the Youth Policy Lab, Jasmina Camo-Biogradlija works with government and non-profit partners on identifying research priorities, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting findings. Prior to her work with Youth Policy Lab, Jasmina worked with Public Policy Associates Inc. as a senior research associate focused on education and workforce with Public Policy Associates, Inc. in Lansing, Michigan. She holds a master of public policy degree from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Education from Eastern Michigan University.
Cameron Conrad is a research analyst for the Youth Policy Lab. Cameron assists the Lab with data management and analysis. Before joining the team, he taught middle and high school math in New Orleans, Louisiana. Cameron holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from The Ohio State University, where he wrote his undergraduate honors thesis on Title I school funding. In his free time, Cameron can be found playing in a local soccer league or listening to the Freakonomics podcast.
Anna Erickson is a research associate with the Youth Policy Lab. Anna has provided project management, data collection and analysis, report writing, and other research support for large-scale randomized control trials of education interventions. She previously taught high school in the Dominican Republic and managed client accounts for a marketing firm. Anna holds a master of public policy degree from the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and a bachelor of arts degree in secondary social studies education from the University of Michigan. She serves on the City of Ann Arbor’s Housing and Human Services Advisory Board.
Foster is a project coordinator with the Youth Policy Lab, where she currently manages classroom observations in New York City and supports our projects for summer youth employment and the Expanding Children’s Early Learning Network. Before joining the Lab, Foster was a special education teacher in a neighborhood Chicago high school, where she taught history. She also has experience in the local small business community where, among other things, she has been a business owner, community organizer and a (sub-par) kickball outfielder. Foster holds a master of education studies with a focus in leadership and policy and a bachelor of fine arts, both from the University of Michigan.
Kelly Lovett is a project manager for the Youth Policy Lab. In this role, Kelly coordinates and executes all phases of research projects, including planning, data gathering and analysis, and dissemination. Prior to joining the team, she worked as a research fellow with the Oregon Department of Education and taught middle school social studies and language arts in St. Louis, Missouri. Kelly holds a bachelor in Political Science with a concentration in Political Economy from Carleton College, and a master in public policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
Chenoa Schatzki-McClain is a data analyst for the Youth Policy Lab. In this role, she contributes to the Lab’s research through managing and analyzing data. Chenoa graduated from Carleton College in 2018 with a bachelor of arts degree in economics. While in undergrad, she was awarded distinction for her thesis on the added worker effect in urban Indonesia. Prior to working at the Lab, Chenoa interned at economic consulting groups in both the U.S. and Hong Kong and has also worked in international development.
Jennifer Smith is a research process manager with the Youth Policy Lab at the Survey Research Center at U-M. She has been in sponsored research administration at the University of Michigan for 24 years and serves as the key administrator and fiscal officer for the Education and Well-Being Program (EWB), and has worked with Robin Jacob in this capacity since the program began in 2007. Jennifer holds a joint appointment with the Youth Policy Lab and leads the administrative and financial activities on behalf of the program.
Jennifer began her university career at the Michigan Sea Grant College Program in the U-M College of Engineering, where she served as lead administrator/fiscal officer for seven years, acting assistant director in her final year. She subsequently served as key administrator for the Study of Instructional Improvement (SII) at the School of Education. Her work with SII and close collaboration with the SII Study Director, Dr. Brian Rowan, led to her role with EWB where she helped to establish the administrative and financial structure for the program and continues as key administrator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Adrian College.
Rebecca Weiland is a project manager at the Youth Policy Lab, where she supports maternal and infant health projects with state and local partners. In this role, she helps develop partnerships and project ideas, conduct background research, and write grant proposals and research briefs. Rebecca has over five years of research experience spanning clinical, behavioral/social sciences, and community-based participatory settings. She holds a master of public health degree from the University of Michigan and a BA in psychology and English from Indiana University Bloomington. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys running, cooking, and spending time with her husband and daughter.
Elizabeth Wenner is an administrative and communications specialist for the Youth Policy Lab. She brings over three years of experience at U-M with her to the Lab. Prior to this role, Elizabeth worked for both the U-M academic campus and most recently Michigan Medicine, where she provided administrative support, created communication materials, and worked on a number of operation based improvement projects for the health system. Elizabeth holds a bachelor of arts degree in communication from Michigan State University. Outside of work, Elizabeth enjoys pottery wheel throwing at the local art center, traveling with her husband, and hanging out with their three legged tabby cat. On the side, she runs her own business as a freelance sports and lifestyle photographer.