MEP Graduate Student Internships in the Education Sciences are established through a partnership with UW–Madison’s Interdisciplinary Training Program in Education Sciences. Supervised by MEP Co-Directors, graduate student researchers provide the district with deeper contextual information topically aligned with current MEP research and of interest to district leadership. Internships also serve to satisfy program requirements of the scholars training program. Research produced by the graduate scholars is presented to the MEP Directors, Steering Committee and District leadership.


Rebecca Bier

Since 2021, Rebecca Bier, graduate student in sociology, is conducting a second year of the evaluation of MMSD's full-day 4K program under the direction of Eric Grodsky and in partnership with the Department of Early Learning. The evaluation follows some students into 5K and continues to understand how full-day 4K affects student learning in literacy, math, executive functioning, and socio-emotional skills, relative to half-day 4K.

Tory Jay

Tory Jay, graduate student in psychology, is observing classroom lessons, interviewing teachers, and reviewing curriculum to understand the barriers to and affordances for supporting conceptual knowledge of mathematics in MMSD middle school algebra and algebra-readiness classes. This work will help the district identify curricular supports and professional development opportunities to support teachers in promoting student conceptual knowledge in the classroom.

Julia Porter

Julia Porter, graduate student in school psychology, is conducting a study to examine the feasibility of implementing a school engagement and school dropout intervention program with 9th grade students at East High School. This work aligns with the district’s prioritization of 9th grade student engagement and will help the district continue to support 9th grade students at risk for school dropout.

TKat Swerbenski

Kat Swerbenski, graduate student in psychology, is conducting an evaluation of the psychometric properties of the current student climate survey used in MMSD. Additionally, she is conducting qualitative interviews with MMSD students on what school belonging means to them. This work will help the district better understand how best to assess students' perceptions of school climate and feelings of school belonging.


Alex Viegut

Alex Viegut, graduate student in educational psychology, is conducting a survey to investigate elementary teacher’s perspectives on teaching math with multiple strategies and visual models. MMSD recently adopted a new K-5 math curriculum, and this work will help the district continue to support math teaching in elementary schools.


Garret Hall, who did an observational study on how teachers build early numeracy skills last year, examined the presence of relationships between the implementation of the Bridges math curriculum and student math achievement in grades 3 through 5 with additional focus on math outcomes among English language learners.


Elizabeth Premo

Elizabeth Premo, graduate student in social work, developed a review and comparison of literature assessments for 4K students. Her research topic was designed in response to the district’s need for an overview of options for 4K literature assessments.

Research Memo: A Review of Select Assessments to Measure School Readiness at the Start of Kindergarten
Garret Hall

Garret Hall, graduate student in educational psychology, conducted a year-long observational study looking at how 4K teachers build early numeracy skills, with particular attention to English language learners.

Undergraduate Research Scholars apply for the MEP internship opportunity through the College of Letters & Science, and are mentored by MEP Co-Director, Eric Grodsky. Through their internship, the scholars conduct research thematically aligned with MEP Directed work, giving them the opportunity to have a hands-on experience investigating pressing problems of policy and practice in public education. At the end of their internship, URS students present their findings to the MEP Directors and Steering Committee as well as at an annual Symposium hosted by the University.

Emmie Miru

Emmie Mirus worked on two qualitative studies, concerning ways to mitigate the impact of socioeconomic status on academic achievement. She assisted in translating, transcribing, coding, and analyzing data.

MEP Undergraduate Research Scholars

The 2016–2017 cohort of Undergraduate Research Scholars, Noor Hammad, Samantha Chase, and Kelly Giuliano, all students in Sociology, focused their research on programmatic elements of four-year-old kindergarten. Their research provided valuable information regarding school readiness and effectiveness of previous 4 year-old Kindergarten curriculum and assessments.

MEP Communications Internship assists the MEP team with the development and execution of an extensive communications and outreach plan to disseminate research findings to targeted audiences and the general public. The Intern gains hands-on experience with communicating across multiple audiences, developing web content, writing press releases and blog posts, and creating digital communication tools.

Lisa Heverly
Lisa Heverly

Lisa Heverly served as MEP’s communication intern for 2019–2020, a student studying Journalism with a concentration in Strategic Communications. Lisa assisted with the production of press releases, monthly newsletters and social media content while keeping the MEP website up-to-date.

Jonathan Mills
Jonathan Mills

Our Communications Intern in 2017–2018 was Jonathan Mills, a student of the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communications with a focus in Journalistic Reporting and Broadcasting. Jonathan contributed to the development of a long-term communications strategy, assisted with the release of MEP research briefs, assisted with the development and implementation of MEP special events, and managed our social media presence.

If you are interested in learning more about opportunities to work with MEP please contact the Project Manager, Amanda Kruger at