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Scholars collaborate with mentors at NORC on a research project and participate in networking and a professional learning series.

The Equity Scholars Program offers awards to scholars across the United States to conduct exemplary social science research. Scholar awardees come from a wide range of multidisciplinary fields and gain enhanced research skills, professional connections, and a deeper understanding of inclusive and equitable research methods. Equity Scholars collaborate with NORC scientists with expertise in designing and conducting rigorous, nonpartisan, inclusive research. Scholars also participate in a virtual networking and professional learning series.  

The 2024 cohort will analyze data from NORC’s Youth & Teen Math Mindset Study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The study focuses on understanding student perceptions of their own math skills and how those perceptions shape their academic performance.  

The program is led by NORC’s Center on Equity Research

Meet the 2024 NORC Equity Scholars

Headshot of Abrea Greene

Abrea Greene, BS

Research Associate, Education & Child Development, NORC 

At NORC, Greene examines STEM educational settings using mixed methods to comprehend students’ experiences and attitudes. She also assesses the impact of curriculum and other structural decisions on students' persistence in STEM fields.  

Her interest in the racial and academic identity development of students of color—and the role of schools and social policies in supporting their growth—stems from her personal lived experience.  

Greene says the Equity Scholars program aligns with her dedication to incorporating diversity across all phases of research. She eagerly anticipates the opportunity to use and refine her skills to extract actionable insights that foster positive educational experiences for all learners. 

Headshot of Elizabeth Klein

Elizabeth Klein, MSW

PhD Student, Boston College School of Social Work, and Graduate Research Assistant, Education & Child Development, NORC

Klein uses qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methodology in her work, which includes exploratory, quasi-experimental, and evaluation studies. She explores the relationship between individuals, communities, and systems to identify facilitators and barriers of youth success, with specific attention to the implementation of policy into practice.  

Klein is also a social worker with experience working with youth and families who have been affected by war, displacement, and community violence. 

Klein looks forward to the mentorship, research experience, and collaborative nature of the Equity Scholars Program. She is excited to learn from and build lasting relationships with other researchers committed to addressing equity, inclusivity, and diversity. 

Headshot of Joy Thompson

Joy Thompson, PhD

Research Scientist, Education & Early Childhood Program Areas, Child Trends 

At Child Trends, Thompson conducts research, evaluation, and technical assistance that uses mixed methods and participatory approaches. Her work spans pre-K through secondary education and covers topics including access to public preschool, behavioral health supports for students, and effective STEM programming.

Thompson is interested in research that promotes equitable access to learning, with research shaped by students and families affected by inequity. Ensuring students’ identities, experiences, and insights are valued and reflected in educational opportunities and supports guides her work. 

Thompson is excited by the Equity Scholars Program’s goal to support equitable approaches to research and looks forward to rich mentorship, connection, and collaborative learning. 

Headshot of Stephanie Vasquez

Stephanie Vasquez, MA

PhD Student in Education, San Diego State University 

Vasquez is passionate about fostering equity. She focuses her research on equitable practices among community college women of color. Committed to empowering and supporting these women in their educational and career pursuits, Vasquez aspires to close educational gaps through community building.

Her interests stem from personal experience. Vasquez is a first-generation Latina and the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, and her pursuit in higher education began with an associate degree in behavioral and social sciences from Santa Monica College.

Vasquez is excited to amplify her impact and collaborate with like-minded people dedicated to advancing equity in education in the Equity Scholars program.