About Me

I received my Ph.D. in Sociology from Duke University in 2020 where I studied issues related to education and education policy, organizational theory, and stratification. My research examines 1) whether differences in school organizational structure have consequences for equity and 2) how students and families experience classrooms and schools. I 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 have consulted on data strategy projects for two states, a large district and a charter school network. I was a member of the 2018 Education Pioneers DC Metro Area Cohort. I hope to continue using research and analysis to improve organizational decision-making processes and effectiveness. 

Professional Experience

Education Pioneers Summer Fellow

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Research on the Development & Education of Youth

Data Strategy Fellow at Cesar Chavez PCS

Summer 2018

Research on the Development & Education of Youth

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Research on the Development & Education of Youth

Graduate Research Assistant

Durham, NC 


The Office of the State Superintendent of Education

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Management Analyst

Office of Data Management

Washington, DC 

2013- 2014

Hawaii Department of Education

Hawaii Department of Education

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Race to the Top Fellow

Honolulu, HI 

Summer 2013

Higher Achievement Program

Hawaii Department of Education

Higher Achievement Program

Achievement Coach

Washington, DC


Research Experience

  Software & Programming Skills

  • Six years of experience conducting statistical analyses in STATA, R, Excel
  • Two years of experience managing data using SQL
  • Two years of experience visualizing data with Tableau (see Portfolio for samples)
  • Less than one year of experience with Python 

Quantitative & Computational Methods

During my time as a Graduate Research Assistant and a Ph.D candidate I worked on several qualitative and quantitative research projects utilizing the following methods:  

  • Entropy balancing & propensity score matching
  • Difference-in-differences
  • Regression analyses & multilevel modeling
  • Factor analyses & structural equation modeling
  • Topic modeling & classification




  •  T. Tong, Emily Persons, and A. Harris. "Socioeconomic Status and Parenting Strategies among Chinese Adolescents with Emigration Intentions." Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Forthcoming.

Publications Under Review or In Progress

Under Review

  • Persons, Emily. "School Closings: Organizational Disbanding and Consequences for Organizational Diversity" 

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."


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

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

  • Sociology Honors Seminar, Teaching Assistant (Fall 2019 & Spring 2020)
  • Contemporary Social Problems, Teaching Assistant (Fall 2019)
  • 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, American Educational Research Association (2016-present)

Contact Me

Email me

Emily R. Persons