Dr. Jay P. Greene is the Distinguished Professor in Education Policy at the University of Arkansas, where he holds the 21st Century Endowed Chair in Education Reform and serves as the head of the Department of Education Reform. He was previously a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute as well as a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston. He received his Ph.D. and A.M. in Political Science from Harvard University and a B.A. in History from Tufts University. Dr. Greene serves as principal investigator of this research lab and has held similar roles in previous successful evaluations of arts field trip experiments, including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art study and the live theater performances study.


Dr. Thalia Goldstein is an Assistant Professor of Applied Developmental Psychology and co-director of The Mason Arts Research Center at George Mason University. Her interests involve children’s social cognitive and emotional development, particularly how these developing abilities intersect with engagement in pretend play, theatre, and imagination. Her current research explores how engagement in dramatic pretend play and theater enables learning of emotional control skills, empathy, and social understanding. This work spans typically developing children, at risk children, and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She also investigates how children reason and learn about morality, personality, and emotion in the fictional characters they encounter through television, movies and popular culture.

Dr. Laura Crispin is an Assistant Professor of Economics at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.  She received her Ph.D. in Economics from Ohio State in 2012, focusing on labor economics, economics of education, and applied econometrics.  Her current research extends these fields to include aspects of time allocation and urban economics, as well.  Her teaching interests include undergraduate courses in microeconomic theory, labor economics, poverty and income inequality, and research methods.


Dr. Angela Watson is a Senior Research Fellow at John Hopkins University. She received her Ph.D. in Education Policy at the University of Arkansas’ Department of Education Reform, and a Master of Arts in teaching mid-level education at Harding University. She received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a graduate certificate in STEM education from the University of Arkansas. She was chosen to attend the 2014 Library of Congress Teacher’s Institute in Washington D.C., and has presented at state and national conferences. Her research interests include school choice, STEM education, informal education, and the impact of religion on educational outcomes.


Dr. Heidi Holmes Erickson is a Limited Term Assistant Professor at Kennesaw State University. She received her Ph.D. in Education Policy in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, and her B.A. in Political Science at Brigham Young University. During undergrad she worked for an education policy reform group focusing on private school vouchers and charter schools in Utah. Following undergrad she worked as a research analyst and lobbyist for a non-profit tax policy group in Salt Lake City.

Molly Beck M.P.A. is a Distinguished Doctoral Fellow and Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas.  Prior to joining the Department of Education Reform, Molly earned a B.A in French and Political Science from Texas State University and an M.P.A from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.  Between her undergraduate and graduate studies, Molly taught French, Government, and Technology to middle school and high school students in Texas. Her research interests include educational outcomes of English Language Learners, academic and non-academic outcomes from experiential learning, and teacher recruitment, quality, and retention.


Laura Florick B.A. is a Research Associate in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, and is currently pursuing an Executive Masters in Public Service at the Clinton School of Public Service. She received her B.A. from the University of Kansas in Sociocultural Anthropology with a focus on South Asia, and earned a graduate certificate in Technical Writing and Public Rhetorics in 2018 from the University of Arkansas. Before coming to the UofA, she worked as an On Site Administrator at a non-profit boarding school for disadvantaged students in rural South India. She also assisted with artifact analysis in the Anthropology Department at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History for several years, after which she helped to conduct archaeological and ethnographic field work in rural Western Mongolia.

Reid Johnson B.A. is a Research Assistant in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Technical Writing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He recently graduated from the Technical Writing and Public Rhetorics Graduate Certificate program at the University of Arkansas, and has a B.A. in English from the same institution. Prior to working for EDRE, he worked as a Dispatcher/Project Manager for Wachter in Lowell, Arkansas.