Zachary McDermott is a 3rd year doctoral student at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. He is funded through a 4-year Institute of Education Sciences-funded Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training (IES-PIRT) fellowship from 2017-2021. Zac’s broad interests focus on using quantitative methodology in education policy research, with an aim to identify and understand inequity for disadvantaged populations, specifically LGBTQ+ and gender minorities, persons with disabilities, and racial/ethnic minorities. An encompassing commonality of several ongoing research projects is to understand students as they transition between schools/academic environments (eg. exploring individual and contextual factors that influence students later college major choices).
Some current projects include: investigating the effect of STEM high school programs in NYC on student outcomes and exploring what differentially explains college major and career decisions by gender and sexual orientation, both project in collaboration with Joe Cimpian, as well as several projects investigating special education in various contexts including NYC, Massachusetts, and nationwide all with Leanna Stiefel. Zac's third year paper uses a multiple rating score regression discontinuity design (MRSRD) to explore short- and long-term consequences of just passing/failing the high-stakes high school exit exams for Students with Disabilities (SWDs).
Zac was formerly the Sr. Associate of Research and Data Management at the Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) where the breadth of his work aimed to understand how in and out of school factors influence academic performance, attendance, meal participation, and student health— work with Amy Ellen Schwartz, Meryle Weinstein, and Brian Elbel. He earned his B.A. in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2013 and his M.A. in Applied Quantitative Research from NYU Graduate School of the Arts and Sciences (GSAS) the following year.