The following researchers serve as NLSY 1997 Postsecondary Research Network affiliates:

Picture of Christina CioccaChristina Ciocca is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at Columbia University.  Her dissertation focuses on students’ trajectories through postsecondary institutions and the role of these institutions in addressing the risk of college dropout.  Her project for the network will examine returns to postsecondary education as a function of curricular composition.
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Picture of Mikaela DufurMikaela Dufur is an associate professor of sociology at Brigham Young University. She primarily studies the social resources available to children and youth, including access to social capital in different settings and ways different family structures affect child and youth outcomes. For this project, she is examining how family structure transitions are associated with first-semester post-secondary academic success.
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Quadlin_Natasha_Pic72Natasha Quadlin is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Indiana University. Her research examines inequality in access and returns to education. Her project for the network focuses on how college funding sources (i.e., student loans, family contributions, grants) are associated with fields of study among students at four-year colleges.
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Image of Tanya SanabriaTanya Sanabria studies the long-term impacts of failing courses on college student persistence and labor market outcomes through longitudinal analyses, focusing on how these impacts might differentially affect historically disadvantaged groups. Her project for the NLSY Postsecondary Research Network will examine the long-term impacts of failing courses on degree completion and employment outcomes using the NLSY Postsecondary Transcript Study-1997, focusing on how impacts vary by course level, content, and gender.
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Image of Guan SawGuan Saw is an assistant professor of program evaluation  in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). He is interested in the intersection of educational policy, sociology of education, and causal inference methods. His current research focus is on studying the causal impact of school reform programs on student outcomes while considering differences in contextual factors. Guan’s project for the NLSY Postsecondary Network examines how postsecondary remediation shapes individuals’ college pathways.


Image of Jessa Valentine Jessa Lewis Valentine is Managing Consultant with DVP-PRAXIS LTD, an organization specializing in higher education research, evaluation, and policy analysis. Her project with the NLSY Postsecondary Research Network explores racial and ethnic variation in sub-baccalaureate attainment and subsequent economic returns, focusing in particular on Hispanic students given their large representation in two-year colleges. She received her doctorate in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was a pre-doctoral fellow with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research’s Interdisciplinary Training Program in the Education Sciences. Her dissertation using the NLSY97 transcript data examines diverse postsecondary pathways and the labor market returns to college credits versus college credentials. Email:


Image of Hyeyoung WooHyeyoung Woo is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Portland State University. Her research centers on family demography, social stratification, life course, race and ethnic relations, and health, and her papers have been published in a variety of journals in multiple disciplines, including social work, economics, as well as sociology. In this proposed project, she would like to investigate whether and how union status is associated with educational outcome among young adults. She plans to use all adult respondents in the 15 rounds of NLSY97, focusing on union history and college completion. As there is little known about possible educational consequences of union status despite the dramatic increases in cohabiting couples among young adults in recent years, findings of this work will be used to better inform educators and policy makers.
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Zajacova-photo_72aAnna Zajacova is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Wyoming. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography from Princeton University and was an NIA post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan.  Zajacova’s research examines how educational attainment is associated with health among US adults, focusing on recent paradoxical findings among GED recipients and college noncompleters to glean new insights into causal mechanisms at play.  She recently published her work in the Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, Journal of Aging and Health, American Journal of Public Health, and Population Research and Policy Review.
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