Rebecca Madill: Researcher

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Posted on: Friday, August 15th, 2014 by Monica Hoel
Rebecca Madill wants to make the education of children more effective. For the 2007 E&H graduate, among the chief obstacles to achieving this goal are government policies that are not informed by the best data.

Rebecca Madill wants to make the education of children more effective. For the 2007 E&H graduate, among the chief obstacles to achieving this goal are government policies that are not informed by the best data.

Thankfully, after earning her doctorate degree from Pennsylvania State University in June of 2014, Madill, who resides in Washington, D.C., landed her first job as a research scientist at Child Trends, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts research on the well-being of children.

 “I knew that I wanted a career that focused on helping children,” Rebecca said, “but so many teachers are working hard only to be let down by certain policies at the state and federal levels. The only way to make education work is to analyze the data and see what works, and what doesn't. My career will allow me to do exactly this.”

As a research scientist, Madill manages projects, conducts statistical analyses, and contributes to written products that help funders and policymakers answer important questions about the success of certain programs, such as universal preschool for low-income children.

“I'm excited by a career in human development because it allows me to combine my interests in teaching children with my interest in conducting high-quality research,” Madill said.

The psychology and French double major knew early in her education at Emory & Henry that she wanted a career that allowed her to help people. After enrolling in a child development course taught by Dr. Celeste Gaia, her vision became clear to her.

Several volunteer opportunities as an E&H Bonner Scholar enlarged Madill’s passion to help children, including being a lunch buddy and a tutor with the E&H Tutoring Program and serving as a volunteer at River's Way, a day camp serving youth with disabilities. She also landed an internship with a school psychologist.

 “I am doing exactly what I wanted to do after getting my degree,” Madill said. “I wanted a research job outside of academia, because I enjoy more direct interaction with policymakers and educators. The work that I am doing at Child Trends answers questions that need to be addressed quickly with high-quality research.”