Emily R. Persons
Ph.D. Candidate

About Me

I am a Sociology Ph.D. Candidate at Duke University. I am originally from Washington, DC and previously attended Princeton University (BA Sociology ’11) and the Harvard Graduate School of Education (MA Education Policy and Management ’13). My professional experience includes work as an after-school classroom teacher and as a data analyst for a state education agency. I was a member of the 2018 Education Pioneers DC Metro Area Cohort. 

I study issues related to education and education policy, organizational theory, and racial stratification. My research examines 1) differences in school organizational structure under various environmental conditions and the consequences for equity and 2) how students and families experience classrooms and schools. 



  • Program for Advanced Research in the Social Sciences, Duke University Social Science Research Institute (2018-2019)
  • Deans Graduate Fellowship, Duke Graduate School (2014-2018)

Publications Under Review

  • Persons, Emily. "School Closings: Organizational Disbanding and Consequences for Organizational Diversity" 
  • T. Tong and Emily Persons. "Socioeconomic Status and Parenting Strategies among Chinese Adolescents with Emigration Intentions." 

Publications In Progress

  • Persons, Emily. “Math Teacher Perceptions of School Organizational Climate and Students Experience of the Math Classroom Learning Environment”
  • Persons, Emily. "How Graduate Teacher Preparation Programs Cope with Institutional Complexity."
  • Persons, Emily. "Closing and Restructuring Public Schools: The Spillover Effects of Organizational Disbanding and Transformation."

Conference Presentations & Invited Talks

  • "School Closings: Ecological & Spillover Effects of Organizational Disbanding" American Educational Research Association 2018 Annual Meeting
  • "School Closings: Ecological & Spillover Effects of an Organizational Disbanding" Sociology of Education Association 2018 Annual Meeting
  • "Playing Fair: How Student Perception of Teacher Bias Impacts Later Academic Outcomes" American Sociological Association 2017 Annual Meeting, Montreal
  • "The Student Shuffle: Organizational Implications of School Closings." Southern Sociological Society 2016 Annual Meeting, Atlanta
  • "Better Late Than Never? Timing and Development of College Expectations" Southern Sociological Society 2015 Annual Meeting, New Orleans

Teaching Experience

  • Tutor for Athletics Department (Summer 2019)
    • Methods of Social Research
    • Quantitative Analysis of Sociological Data
  • Race and Education, Guest Lecturer (Fall 2018)
    • Cultural Deficiency in Education
  • Nations, Regions and the Global Economy, Teaching Assistant (Spring 2017)
    • The Sociology of Entrepreneurship, Teaching Assistant (Fall 2016)

Professional Service & Affiliations

  • Student Member, American Sociological Association (2014-present)
  • Student Member, Southerns Sociological Society (2014-present)
  • Student Member, American Educational Research Association (2016-present)
  • Community Service Chair, Duke Graduate Student Forum (2017-2018
  • Prospective Student Visit Coordinator, Duke Graduate Student Forum (2014-2016)

Professional Experience

Education Pioneers Summer Fellow

Data Strategy Fellow at Cesar Chavez PCS

Summer 2018

Research on the Development & Education of Youth

Graduate Research Assistant

Durham, NC 


The Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Management Analyst

Office of Data Management

Washington, DC 

2013- 2014

Hawaii Department of Education

Race to the Top Fellow

Honolulu, HI 

Summer 2013

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Intern & Staff Assistant

Washington, DC


Higher Achievement Program

Achievement Coach

Washington, DC


Contact Me

Emily R. Persons

417 Chapel Drive, Durham, North Carolina 27705, United States

Email me


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