Dr. Kalena E. Cortes, Verlin and Howard Kruse ’52 Founders Associate Professor in the Department of Public Service and Administration, earned a PhD in economics from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in the Economics of Education program, a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), and a Scholar in the Mindset Scholars Network. Most recently, she was named Texas A&M’s 2020 Presidential Impact Fellow. Dr. Cortes has also been a visiting scholar at both Stanford and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, the National Bureau of Economic Research, and Princeton University.
Dr. Cortes' research interest is in the area of the economics of education. Her research focuses on issues of equity and access, in particular, identifying educational policies that help disadvantaged students at the PK-12 and postsecondary levels. She has worked on three key areas: improving academic performance of urban students, increasing access to postsecondary education, and raising educational attainment of immigrant students. She has been involved in a variety of major service activities, both on campus and in her profession. She is currently on the editorial board of the Economics of Education Review journal and is an Associate Editor of AERA Open, and also served on the editorial board of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. She is also currently serving on the American Economic Association’s Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession (CSMGEP). She served a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP) and was a Fellow at the Greater Texas Foundation. More information can be found on her professional website: http://www.kalenacortes.com