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Eric Camburn, Director

Sherman Family Foundation Endowed Chair, UMKC

For three decades, Eric Camburn has conducted research on school improvement, school leadership and inequalities in educational opportunity. His research has contributed to the field’s understanding of social inequalities in the secondary and postsecondary outcomes of urban students and of factors that promote and impede the progress of urban students at key junctures. Early research investigated factors associated with social inequalities in high school course failure and access to postsecondary education. A second thread of his research has examined factors that promote the improvement of literacy instruction in urban elementary schools with high poverty rates. Camburn has worked collaboratively with multiple urban districts to advance improvement initiatives through research evidence. Most recently he served as a founding co-director of the Madison Education Partnership, a partnership between the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and the Madison Metropolitan School District. He earned his doctorate in education from the University of Chicago.

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Karin Chang

Associate Director

Karin Chang has more than 20 years of experience in Kansas City helping educational organizations meet a wide range of evaluation, needs assessment and research needs. In the Kansas City region, she has partnered with over 40 school districts and charter schools, community colleges, economic development organizations and the state Departments of Education in Kansas and Missouri. Her expertise spans the P-20 educational continuum, including early childhood, K-16 STEM learning, adult education and workforce development. She earned a doctorate in education research and psychology from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Education Policy and Administration from Stanford University.

Prior to joining the UERC, Chang served as the director of the Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium (KC-AERC), where she led a team of researchers from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the University of Kansas, the University of Missouri and Kansas State University. The consortium focused on critical educational issues in Kansas City, including student mobility, parent school choice, extended school year and disparities in reading achievement. This focus on equity continues to be a central component of her work at UERC.

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Jenny Frenzel

Senior Research Assistant

Jenny Frenzel has over 14 years of experience in educational and nonprofit program evaluation and grant outcomes measurement. Her experience includes the design and implementation of comprehensive evaluations for educational, youth development and health promotion programs. Frenzel is highly skilled in the areas of both quantitative and qualitative data collection, analysis and reporting. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Emory University and master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Karen King

Grants Coordinator

The majority of Karen King’s professional experience has been in the higher education environment, with the most recent 15 years devoted to grantsmanship. Her academic background is in business, having earned her undergraduate degree in business administration with a concentration in economic development from the University of Kansas, and a Master of Business Administration from Baker University. Among her responsibilities as senior grants coordinator, King provides support for faculty by researching external funding sources, assisting with preparation and submission of grant proposals, managing pre- and post-award administration and conducting grant-related professional development.

Caroline Matz

Research Assistant

Caroline Matz graduated from UMKC with her B.A. in Psychology in May 2020. She began working at the UERC as an undergraduate student and was able to continue as a research assistant. She plans to go to graduate school in the Fall of 2021 to further her skillset in data science.


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Alexander Valchyshen

Graduate Research Assistant

Alexander Valchyshen is an interdisciplinary Ph.D. student in the Economics department of UMKC. He joined the UERC in 2019 as a graduate research assistant. He holds a M.S. in Economic Theory and Policy (2019) from the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College. Alexander has more than 20 years of experience of working in the financial industry in Ukraine on the position of Head of Research covering Ukraine’s macroeconomics and financial markets: ING Bank Ukraine (2005-08), ICU (2008-18).


Jeong-Mi Moon

Graduate Research Assistant

Jeong-Mi Moon is a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She joined the UERC in 2020 as a graduate research assistant. Her research interests include school practices/policies regarding underrepresented groups of students including immigrant or language minority students.


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Molly Harris

Graduate Research Assistant

Molly Harris is doctoral candidate pursuing her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. She joined the UERC in 2020 as a graduate research assistant. Molly received her M.A. in Experimental Psychology from the College of William and Mary. Her research interests include assessment and measurement of cognition and everyday functioning in individuals with serious mental illness.


LaDonna McCullough

Graduate Research Assistant

LaDonna McCullough is an interdisciplinary Ph.D. student majoring in Educational Leadership Policy & Foundations and Social Science Consortium. She joined the UERC in 2020 as a graduate research assistant. Her previous experience includes culturally responsive mixed-methods research helping government, educational, and non-profit organizations. She earned a M.A. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.


Maya Baughn

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Maya Baughn is an interdisciplinary undergraduate student studying for her B.A. in Health Sciences. She joined the UERC in 2020 as an undergraduate research assistant. Maya plans to pursue a career in advanced medicine upon graduation.


Melissa Santos

Undergraduate Intern

Melissa Santos is a UERC intern currently working on the Teachers of Color retention project. She is broadly interested in educational inequities related to gender, race, and class. She will receive her B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Sociology from Stanford University in June 2021.