Institute for Economic and Racial Equity

Graduate Research Assistants

Miriam Krugman

Miriam is a third-year Social Impact MBA/MPP student concentrating in racial and gender justice. Her research interests lie at the intersection of race and gender and she has explored topics such as asset building, pay equity, and voting rights, all centering systemically sidelined communities. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with focuses in gender and sexuailty, social justice, and peace studies from Brandeis University. In her free time, Miriam enjoys spending time outdoors with friends, exploring new places in Boston, and frequenting cute coffee shops in search of the best tea latte around. 

Manning Zhang, MPP Candidate

Manning Zhang is a joint doctoral student in the Health concentration at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management and the Department of Sociology. Her commitment to the joint PhD program in Social Policy and Sociology, allows her research to mainly focus on the intersection of culture and health. Zhang is interested in evaluating health policies and the corresponding health outcomes across different countries. Her recent research and publications feature eating disorder treatment in China and the psychological intervention towards Chinese first-responders in the COVID-19 crisis. After joining IERE as a graduate research assistant in the summer of 2022, she has been working for the 529 landscape project.

Lisa Thorn, MPP Candidate

Lisa is a MPP student in the Economic and Racial Equity concentration. Her research includes the impact of technology on privacy, surveillance, and human rights. Coming from the tech industry, she values the innovation and potential of technology but understands the need for accountability and regulation of algorithms and data collection. Before joining the Heller School, Lisa was an art director for the Riot Games publishing department were she advocated for equitable compensation practices and communicated creative strategy across a global franchise.
Branden Miles, Graduate Research Assistant

Branden Miles, MPP candidate

Branden is a first-year MPP student in the Economic and Racial Equity concentration. A native of Roxbury in Boston, MA, Branden's research interests lie at the intersection of institutional behavior, economic inequality, and racial equity. Prior to joining the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Branden worked as a program associate for the Social Science Research Council in Brooklyn, NY under their Strategic Learning and Evaluation, and Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum programs. A graduate of Hamilton College with a BA in World Politics, Branden is a recipient of The Posse Foundation Full-Tuition Leadership Scholarship, and an Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center Social Innovation Fellow. In his free time Branden enjoys cycling, record shop digging, and photography.
Armando Vizcardo, Graduate Research Assistant

Armando Vizcardo, MPP candidate

Armando Vizcardo is a Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) candidate at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, concentrating in Economic and Racial Equity. Previously, he earned his BA in economics at the University of Massachusetts Boston. After his BA, he worked as a program coordinator at Inversant, a Boston-based children’s savings account (CSA) program, and after, as an analyst for Abt Associates, a social policy and research firm. His research interests focus on asset-building, education, and immigration. Currently, he is assisting the CSA research team at the Institute of Economic and Racial Equity (IERE) with the evaluation of the state-wide MA BabySteps savings program and is involved in research through the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy (ICYFP) examining child care subsidies in MA.

Jonathan Jacob

Jonathan (Jon) Jacob, PhD student

Jonathan (Jon) Jacob is a doctoral student in the Economic and Racial Equity concentration. His research interests include issues of labor, social inequality, culture, race, and ethnicity. Jacob’s current research examines how top-performing college students are seemingly funneled into three industries—tech, finance, and consulting—while other areas such as teaching and nursing are critically underfunded. Prior to joining the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Jacob worked as a high school educator for the Claremont Unified School District in Los Angeles County. He holds an MA in social sciences from The University of Chicago and a BA in business from Brandeis University.
Teresa Kroeger

Teresa Kroeger, PhD candidate

Teresa Kroeger is a doctoral candidate in the Economic and Racial Equity concentration at the Heller School. She researches policies that affect the lives of socioeconomic disadvantaged individuals and families and those who are subject to gender and racial discrimination. At IERE, Teresa's work focuses on occupational segregation and racial wealth gaps. Prior to joining the Heller School, Teresa conducted research at the Economic Policy Institute, the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and the American Institutes for Research. Her recent research and publications focused on minimum wage violations, paid sick leave, collective bargaining, and the labor market for young graduates. Teresa holds a BA in Economics and Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Emily Daman

Emily Daman, MPP/MBA candidate

Emily Daman is a dual Master of Public Policy (MPP) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) candidate at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, concentrating in economic and racial equity. At Heller, her research has focused primarily on immigration policy. Prior to Heller, she worked as an implementation specialist for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Emily also has experience in fundraising and development with nonprofits. In her current role as a Graduate Research Assistant at IERE, Emily is working on Empowerment Economics. 

Kaitie Chakoian-Lifvergren

Kaitie Chakoian-Lifvergren, PhD student

Kaitie Chakoian is a doctoral candidate in the Economic and Racial Equity concentration at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Her research focuses on the intersections of gender-based violence, intersectional identities, and social policy.  Kaitie earned a B.A. in Psychology and Social Justice from Simmons College, an M.Ed from Northeastern University and an M.A. in Sociology from Brandeis. Kaitie's dissertation investigates the experiences of college sexual assault survivors navigating the education, healthcare, and criminal-legal systems in the aftermath of violence. Much of the existing research on college sexual assault focuses on the experiences of certain groups of students - often cis, white, straight, women. Kaitie's research intentionally includes the voices and experiences of a diverse range of survivors - including those with diverse racial, gender, and sexual orientation identities to develop a more holistic understanding the experiences of all survivors. This exploratory qualitative study is infused with both institutional ethnography and intersectional theory.