Student Profile

Joanna Rometsch Mathias

Ph.D. Student - School Organization & Education Policy


Research Interests

My dissertation work focuses on Career and Technical Education in California, both descriptive analysis of the current landscape and analysis of policy developments and impacts under recent changes in state and federal legislation. I am evaluating the effectiveness of CTE in different school models i.e. traditional high schools, small learning communities, specialty tech high schools, and investigating the role K12 career education plays in California’s Career/College readiness accountability and preparation for CA community college students.

My research utilizes comprehensive data on the census of California students to understand the state of CTE in California, examine stratification within CTE programs, determine the effect of CTE on postsecondary outcomes & behavior, and examine community college alignment and outcomes for K-12 CTE students.

I am broadly interested in the transition from high school to post-secondary education and the early years of post-secondary 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 especially interested in measuring socioeconomic status in the education context and the income-achievement gap in higher education, especially in STEM fields. I aim to examine how postsecondary institutions can improve retention and persistence for socioeconomically disadvantaged students, especially in STEM fields. 


2021 Ph.D. School Organization & Education Policy, 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, 2016-2019

  • 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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