Student Profile

Claudia Escobar
PhD Student


Before coming to UC Davis, Claudia was an Analyst at the University of California Office of the President within Institutional Research and Academic Planning. She is originally from Pomona in Southern California but has spent most of her recent years in the Bay Area and Chicago.


Doctor of Philosophy in Education
University of California, Davis, Expected Spring 2020
Dissertation title: TBD
Advisors: Michal Kurlaender and Paco Martorell

Master’s of Public Policy
University of Chicago – Harris School of Public Policy, May 2008

Bachelor of Arts in Government
Claremont McKenna College, May 1998
Thesis: An Assessment of the Community Development Block Grant in Pomona

Research Interests

She explores improvements in the persistence and retention of first generation college students with a focus on the culture of higher education.

Research Experience

Graduate Research Assistant, School of Education, UC Davis
2016 – Present

  • Assisted with implementation of 2 randomized control trials of an intervention and managed relationships with partners at research site
  • Co-authored a survey instrument
  • Analysis of survey data
  • Developed qualitative research project
  • Secured IRB approval for research project
  • Developed interview protocols and conducted interview with study participants

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant, Issues in Higher Education, Schoo of Education, UC Davis
Spring 2016

  • Grade writing assignments and hold office hours

Mentor Experience

UCD Summer Poverty Research Engagement Experience (UCD-SPREE), Summer 2017

  • Mentored two undergraduate students through a seven-week intensive research program

MURALS Program, Fall 2017

  • Mentored one undergraduate student towards graduate/professional school.

Graduate Academic Achievement and Advocacy Program (GAAAP), UC Davis, Winter 2016

  • Mentored 2 undergraduate students towards graduate/professional school.

Honors and Awards

Honorable Mention, Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, 2017

Academic Distinction, UC Davis School of Education, 2015

STAR Award for superior employee performance, University of California, Office of the President, 2013

Publications and Conference Presentations


The Power of Experiences: Investigating Students’ Motivations in College
Author(s): Claudia Escobar, Marcela Cuellar, & Michal Kurlaender
(in progress)

Examining the relationship between student perceptions of their instructors and course performance
Author(s): Claudia Escobar
(in progress)

Conference Presentations

Paper Session: Examining the relationship between student perceptions of their instructors and course performance, American Education Research Association, April 2018

Roundtable presentation: The Power of Experiences: Investigating Students’ Motivations in College, Association for the Study of Higher Education, November 2017


Graduate Group in Education Research Fellowship, 2018
UC Davis Award: $10,000 in support of research expenses

Cross Cultural Center and Graduate Academic Achievement & Advocacy Program, 2018
UC Davis Summer Research Award: $500

Graduate Group in Education Research Fellowship, 2017
UC Davis Award: $1,500 in support of research expenses

Graduate Group in Education Travel Fellowship, 2017
UC Davis Award: $1,000 in support of travel costs for AERA conference 

Professional Experience and Service

Professional Experience

Analyst in Institutional Research and Academic Planning, UC Office of the President Oakland, CA, 2009 – 2015

  • Produced analyses for policymakers on the Universities short and long-term enrollment plans.
  • Developed projections of public high school graduates in California.

University Service

Womxn of Color Graduate Panel, Delta Xi Phi Multicultural Sorority, UC Davis Chapter, 2017 & 2018

President, UC Office the President Staff Assembly, 2012

  • Lead the organization through strategic planning and its implementation of staff engagement efforts between executive leadership and staff to improve employees’ opportunity for career advancement.

For Fun

Ms. Escobar likes to go on long bike rides, dances, and always enjoys a good conversation with colleagues. She also likes to meditate and finding easy to make but delicious recipes for her crock pot. 

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