Research Assistants

Current Research Assistants

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Maria Diego is an MPP student at the Harris School of Public Policy. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico in Mexico City, where she grew up. Before joining the BIP lab as a research assistant, Maria worked as an Economist at the Mexican central bank. She is interested in development economics and poverty alleviation policy. Maria expects to graduate in 2018.

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Amanda Magana is an undergraduate student at the University of Dubuque studying Chemistry on a Pre-Med track. She grew up on the Northside of Chicago and is interested in learning more about child development and the social factors that impact them. Her career goals are to learn as much as she can about children and child development and to become a well round pediatric doctor. Outside of the BIP Lab, Amanda enjoys spending time in a pool, swimming and playing water polo, but most of all loves to spend time with her family. She plans to graduate in 2019.

  Juliana Aguilar is an MPP student at the Harris School of Public Policy. Juliana is originally from Bogotá, Colombia and holds a BA and MS in economics. Currently, Juliana is working as an RA for the BIP Lab. Before coming to the University of Chicago, she worked at the World Bank on urban development for the Africa region, and as assistant researcher at Fedesarrollo, one of Latin America’s top think tanks. Juliana expects to graduate in 2018. 
Simone Denny.jpeg Simone Denny is a masters Student at the School of Social Service Administration. She was raised in New York City and has a Bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Beloit College in Wisconsin. Simone moved to Chicago in 2011 where she has been involved in work with survivors of domestic violence, most recently as a legal advocate at Neopolitan Lighthouse. Simone is interested in the direct practice of Social Work, while deepening an understanding of the larger systems that impact and shape our lives. In her free time, Simone enjoys cooking, reading, and relaxing with her cats. 
Abby Eskenazi_0.jpg Abby Eskenazi  is a first year MPP student at the Harris School of Public Policy. She grew up in Elmhurst, Illinois and earned her Bachelor's Degree at Washington University in St. Louis. Before joining the BIP Lab, Abby worked at United Way of Greater St. Louis as the project manager for a financial empowerment program for Head Start families. She is also an alum of the MatchCorps Urban Education Fellowship and the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs. Abby is interested in early childhood education policy and public-private partnerships. Abby expects to graduate in 2018. 
Naomi Gancz.jpg Naomi Gancz is an undergraduate studying psychology and sociology. Naomi was born in Israel and moved to a suburb of Washington, D.C. at a young age. She is interested in the social factors that influence stress and psychopathology, and hopes to pursue a career in behavioral health research. Outside the lab, Naomi is active in community service and in criminal justice reform advocacy; she also enjoys music and cooking. Naomi expects to graduate in 2019. 
Daniela Gomez.jpeg Daniela Gomez is an MPP student at the Harris School of Public Policy. She has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Political Science from Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, CIDE in Mexico. Before joining the BIP Lab, Daniela worked as an advisor for Mexico’s federal government. She has a strong interest in transit migration, particularly to the United States, which was the main topic of her undergraduate thesis. At this moment, she is also interested in energy and environmental policies as well as development and innovation. Daniela expects to graduate in 2018. 
Miriam Gonzalez.png Miriam Gonzalez Miriam is an MPP student at the Harris School of Public Policy. She is interested in the evaluation of economic and social policies aimed to alleviate poverty and increase the well-being of low-income families. Before joining the BIP Lab, Miriam worked as Economist in Mexico’s central bank. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico. Miriam expects to graduate in 2017. 
Nini Gu_0.JPG Nini Gu is an MS candidate in the Environmental Science and Policy program. She has bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering and mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to Harris, she worked as an engineer for a major consumer goods company, where her latest role focused on consumer insights for optimizing product development. It was in this role that she understood the power of behavioral analysis and modeling. In the future, she hopes to apply the tools and techniques of behavioral intervention used in the private industry to solve public policy problems, especially in the field of environmental policy. Nini expects to graduate in 2017. 
Shen Han_0.jpeg Shen Han  is an MPP student at the Harris School of Public Policy. He is originally from Tianjin, China, and earned his dual bachelor’s degrees in Laws and Economics from Nankai University. Shen is interested in data analysis and computational behavioral science. At the BIP Lab, he works on the Mind in Focus project, auditing and analyzing experimental data, collaborated with other onsite research assistants. Before joining the Lab, he worked as an assistant data analyst at the National Supercomputing Center in China. In his free time, he can usually be found in the library or the music practice room. He hopes to become a data analyst in the future, or maybe a film producer. Shen expects to graduate in 2017. 
Arianna Hernandez_0.JPG Arianna Hernandez  is a student in the College majoring in Comparative Human Development. Her little siblings inspire her interest in child psychology and parenting. Ari is curious about healthy eating, exercise, and mindfulness as a means to energize and enrich growing bodies and brains. Outside of the lab, Ari is a mentor for Women & Youth Supporting Each Other, a teacher for Peer Health Exchange, and a board member of Splash! Chicago. Arianna expects to graduate in 2019. 
Mimi Headshot Website.jpg Maria (Mimi) Hess is a second year undergraduate majoring in Economics and Philosophy. She is originally from Parsippany, New Jersey. Mimi has a strong interest in behavioral economics, and is interested in learning how different policies and incentives affect parental behavior and ultimately child development. Outside of the BIP lab, Mimi is a tutor for Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, a student consultant for Green Economics Group, and a committee chair for Chicago Model United Nations. 
Elena Jimenez.jpg Elena Jimenez is an MPP student at the Harris School of Public Policy. She is interested in Education, Early Childhood and Family Policy. Before joining the BIP Lab, Elena worked in banking and finance in Mexico City and Cancun. She hopes to apply the experience and knowledge to education-financing policy issues and programs. In her spare time she likes to walk her dog and play the drums. Elena expects to graduate in 2018.
Adelaida Headshot Website.jpg Adelaida Miranda is an MPP student at the Harris School of Public Policy, and received her bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Adelaida is currently working as a Research Assistant for the BIP Lab, supporting the early childhood project Show Up 2 Grow Up. Before joining the BIP Lab, Adelaida worked in the airline business and volunteered in senior care homes in both Chile and India. She is interested in social development and poverty reduction in developing countries.
Songkhun Nillasithanakroh_0.jpg Songkhun (Sunny) Nillasithanukroh  graduated with an MA from Harris School of Public Policy in 2016. Prior to joining Harris, he received his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is originally from Nonthaburi, Thailand. Sunny is interested in developing policies and programs that can improve child educational outcomes. Sunny is currently working on the Show Up 2 Grow Up project at the BIP Lab. In his free time, Sunny likes to bake, read, and take a long walk (but not in the winter!). 
Gustavo Novoa_0.jpeg Gustavo Novoa is an MPP student at the Harris School of Public Policy, as part of an BA/MPP joint program with The College at University of Chicago. He is originally from Caracas, Venezuela, but grew up in Miami, Florida. Gustavo is interested in the intersection between theory and applied policy research, and hopes to attend a PhD program after graduating from Harris. In his free time, Gustavo enjoys cooking, playing guitar, and hiking. Gustavo expects to graduate in 2018. 
Leonor Ortiz.jpg Leonor Ortiz Monasterio  is an MPP student at the Harris School of Public Policy. She was born and raised in Mexico City where she completed her BA in International Relations. Leonor is interested in accountability, transparency and security. Before joining the BIP Lab, she worked in forensic consulting at FTI Consulting in Mexico City. Leonor expects to graduate in 2017. 
Lina Pedraza.jpeg Lina Pedraza is an MPP student at the Harris School of Public Policy, and earned a B.S. degree in Economics from the Universidad del Rosario in Colombia. Before joining the BIP Lab, Lina worked on program evaluation for the National Planning Department in Colombia. She is particularly interested in social and economic development in developing countries and education policy. Lina expects to graduate in 2018. 
Nick Pellow.jpg Nick Pellow is a MPP student at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. His undergraduate work was in philosophy at Wake Forest University. Afterwards, he interned with Dr. Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington D.C., doing research on the intersection of economics, poverty and culture. He now is pursuing a focus in urban poverty and inequality. Nick expects to graduate in 2018. 
Mayra Quinonez_0.jpg Mayra Quinonez  is an MPP student at the Harris School of Public Policy and earned a bachelor's degree in International Relations. Mayra is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico and has a strong interest in development and social participation. She is currently working as a Research Assistant on the Show Up 2 Grow Up and the M-PACT projects. Before joining the BIP Lab she worked as a Research Assistant for a non profit related to housing and as a Planner for a local government in Mexico managing funds and resources to plan and execute urban infrastructure through a participatory budget. Mayra expects to graduate in 2017. 
Manuel Toral.jpeg Manuel Toral is an MPP Candidate at Harris School of Public Policy. He is from Mexico City where he studied Political Science and International Relations at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE). Before being part of the BIP Lab, Manuel worked as an adviser for the Government of Jalisco, the second biggest state in Mexico. He is interested in violence and crime and believes that education is the main strategy to tackle those problems. Manuel expects to graduate in 2017. 
Manyi Wang_0.jpeg Manyi Wang  is an MPP student at the Harris School of Public Policy. She is from China and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Management from Renmin University of China. She is currently working as a Research Assistant for the BIP Lab, mainly involved in site visits. Before joining the BIP, Manyi interned in WWF, China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security as well as BMW Group. She is passionate about the intersection of research and policymaking. Outside of the lab, she loves tennis, skating and backpacking. Manyi expects to graduate in 2018. 

Former Research Assistants

Shweta Akolkar

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Katie Bart

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Derek Chan

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F Coello

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Estefania Espinoza

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Brooke Goren

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Alanna Heyer

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Fatima Khan

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Joyce Lu

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Sophie Milam

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 Marissa Montoya

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An Nguyen

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Gonnie Park

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Megan Porter

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Arabella Pluta-Ehlers

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Martha Teka

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Melissa Whitney

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Christina Xiao

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Miriam (Xiaoyue) Yu

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Adela Zhang

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