Robert A. Nathenson, PhD MSE MSc

Research Specialist, CPRE

University of Pennsylvania

Areas of Expertise
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Finance
  • Governance and Policy
  • Higher Education
  • Mathematics Education
  • Methodology and Measurement
  • Policy and Practice
  • Quantitative Research Methods
  • Race & Equity
  • School Effectiveness
  • Contact
    robertna@upenn.edu

    Dr. Robert Nathenson is a research specialist at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (GSE). He is an applied quantitative researcher with expertise leading projects using advanced econometric techniques in postsecondary education, K-12 education, and health. His research focuses on questions of access, opportunity, and mobility for low-income, minority, mental health, and immigrant populations, including the geography of opportunity, student learning trajectories, and access to healthcare services. He has noted expertise in experimental and quasi-experimental design, as well as in the execution of rigorous econometric and statistical techniques to applied policy questions. At CPRE, he designs and manages experimental and non-experimental projects across the pre-K to postsecondary spectrum.

    Nathenson is Principal Investigator of the evaluation of the Pennsylvania Treasury Department's college savings account initiative (Keystone Scholars). He is also using population-level data to identify patterns of college savings behavior, which is helping the Treasury improve their efforts to facilitate greater savings for college. He is the quantitative lead on a National Science Foundation grant of the Ongoing Assessment Project (OGAP), a formative assessment mathematics teacher professional development program. This work is joint with the School District of Philadelphia. He has led research on how behavioral science techniques can help improve survey response rates (published in the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness), conducts a higher education podcast series, and has published widely on such health policy topics as access to care for Spanish-speakers and the impact of state and federal policy on mental healthcare utilization. He received his PhD as well as a Master's in Applied Math and Statistics from Johns Hopkins in 2014, where he was an Institute of Education Sciences predoctoral fellow. He completed his postdoctoral work at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. When not focusing on social science, he enjoys reading plays, training for triathlons, and spoiling his young son.

    Consortium for Policy Research in Education

    University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
    3440 Market Street, Suite 560
    Philadelphia, PA 19104
    Tel: 215.573.0700
    Fax: 215.573.7914

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