Zachary T. McDermott is a doctoral candidate in Public Policy at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. Their research focuses on the educational experiences of vulnerable student groups and inequities they may face compared to their counterparts. Zac’s dissertation uses student-level data from national, state, and city departments of education to 1) explore the role of gender, sexual orientation, and other student and school characteristics (e.g. prior achievement, stereotypes, type of college) in choosing a college major, 2) examine the effect of marginally failing a high school exit exam and whether it’s different for students with disabilities in Massachusetts, and 3) understand the educational consequences of experiencing housing instability for elementary students in NYC.
Zac received a 4-year Institute of Education Sciences-funded Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training (IES-PIRT) fellowship from 2017-2021. Their co-authored work has been published in Science, PLOS One, Health & Place, and Obesity. Zac was formerly the Sr. Associate of Research and Data Management at the Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) where their research aimed to understand how in and out of school factors influence academic performance, attendance, meal participation, and student health. Zac holds an M.A. in Applied Quantitative Research from NYU Graduate School of the Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.