Jenna received her Ph.D. in Urban Education Policy and M.A. in Economics from University of Southern California in 2015. She completed a B.A. in Political Science, B.A. in Social Policy, and Certificate in Advanced Leadership Studies from American University, where she was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar. Jenna’s work focuses on college access, college readiness, higher education and K–16 policy, and quantitative methods and program evaluation.
She has published articles and commentaries in outlets such as Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Higher Education, and The Educational Forum. Her work examines intersections of equity theory, policy, and research, such as how cultural capital theory can be more responsive to culturally diverse students and how quantitative methods can better serve research for students of color. Jenna has professional experience across K–12 and higher education, working at a university cultural center and a school district central office, and most recently, as a research associate at Loyola Marymount University. As a former research assistant in the Pullias Center for Higher Education, Jenna directed a program evaluation of a summer bridge program for students from Los Angeles high schools transitioning to four-year universities.
Jenna also has a unique expertise in Pacific Islander higher education. She has collaborated with researchers at the Regional Education Lab of the Pacific, focusing on college readiness among high school and community college students in American Samoa, Guam, and CNMI. In addition to her research and professional practice, Jenna has also used her knowledge about college access in service to the community, speaking at after-school and community programs and mentoring high school and undergraduate students.