Student Profile

Joanna Rometsch Mathias
Ph.D. Student - School Organization & Education Policy


Research Interests

I am broadly interested in the transition from high school to postsecondary education and the early years of postsecondary studies for socioeconomically disadvantaged students. I want to understand how students from disadvantaged groups navigate higher education curriculum and institutions. Utilizing my training in econometrics, I apply quasi-experimental methods to large institutional datasets.  I am specifically interested in understanding socioeconomic status in higher education via poverty, immigration status, and homelessness.

My research is focused on measuring socioeconomic status and the income-achievement gap in higher education research, especially in STEM fields. 

I am interested in considering how students navigate introductory college curriculum. Interventions in the college classroom have been understudied relative to social and campus-wide interventions, and I aim to examine how postsecondary institutions can improve retention and persistence for socioeconomically disadvantaged students, especially in STEM fields. 


2020 Ph.D. Education, University of California, Davis, expected. Advisors: Scott Carrell, Michal Kurlaender, and Paco Martorell

2013 M.A. Economics, North Carolina State University

2011 B.A. Economics with Highest Honors, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Magna cum laude

Presentations & Publications

Reed, S., Dougherty, S. M., Kurlaender, M., & Mathias, J. (2018). A Portrait of California Career Technical Education Pathway Completers. Retrieved from

Research Experience

Research Assistant, California Education Lab, working under Scott Carrell, Michal Kurlaender, and Paco Martorell. Using restricted California student-level data from California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) to research course-taking behavior, career and technical education, and career readiness

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant
School of Education, UC Davis, 2016-Current

  • EDU120, Philosophical & Social Foundations of Educations


Stata, R, LaTex, Excel

Professional Affiliations

Member, American Educational Research Association

Member, American Economics Association

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