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.
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.
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.
Leah Martin is a Program Associate for the Youth Policy Lab. She helps manage partnerships, research, communications and fundraising for the growing team. For more than 10 years, Leah worked with public affairs leaders and social entrepreneurs in Chicago, supporting political candidates and corporate, non-profit and government organizations. She has experience spearheading strategic advancement efforts that inspire action, especially those focused on relatively unknown or complex issues. In 2013, she returned to Michigan to attend graduate school and to invest more time and attention in her home state. Leah taught high school in New Orleans for two years in the earlier days of Teach For America, and is a two-time graduate of the University of Michigan with a bachelor of arts in economics and a master of public administration from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
Jennifer Smith has been in sponsored research administration at the University of Michigan for twenty-four years. She is the key administrator and fiscal officer for the Education and Well-Being Program in the Survey Research Center (SRC) and has worked with Professor Robin Jacob in this capacity since the inception of the program in 2007. Jennifer holds a joint appointment with the Youth Policy Lab and leads the administrative and financial activities on behalf of the program for SRC.
Jennifer began her university career at the Michigan Sea Grant College Program in the UM College of Engineering, where she served as lead administrator/fiscal officer for seven years, and as 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, Professor 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 admin. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Adrian College.