Describe your current position and what led to your job.
I work in The College Board’s Research and Development unit performing research on the validity of our assessments (e.g., SAT, Advanced Placement exams) in terms of their relationship with college-level outcomes.
What has been the most rewarding/challenging moment in your career?
I am most proud of my successful completion of an M.A. in Statistics at Columbia University, especially because I earned that degree while working full-time for The College Board. I am now working on my Ph.D. part-time and that will certainly overtake my completion of a master’s degree once I finish it.
What is the best career advice you have received?
Ten months at my first job after graduation, my then-girlfriend (now my wife) reminded me that people matter. In other words, you not only have to like what you do from day to day, but it is just as important to like and respect the people with and for whom you work. That prompted me to switch gears from the for-profit world to the not-for-profit sector and I’ve never looked back.
What would you recommend to someone interested in working in your field?
I would encourage people to challenge themselves and find a mentor who wants to develop them. I think this is good advice in when considering graduate school or when thinking about where to work. Seek rigorous technical courses in school and ask your employer to put you on projects where you will be made to think critically about the problems at hand.
What skills are necessary or what prepared you the most for your career?
I have to say that my statistical expertise has been key in leading me to this very rewarding and interesting position. Related to that I think that my fluency in the statistical packages that are used to apply the techniques I studied has helped me tremendously. It is one thing to learn the theory, but what really matters is being able to apply that theory to real world research and be able to interpret the results to help shed new insights into the problem.
What professional associations have aided in your professional development?
I have interacted with colleagues at the American Statistical Association (ASA) and I have presented papers at the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA). I am fortunate that leadership within my department has been very encouraging of my interaction with professional associations.
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