A new cohort of summer interns has joined the NAEP R&D program! These interns are hard at work engaging in methodological developments and conducting secondary analysis using NAEP data. A couple of our new interns, Jazzmine Waugh and Talal Khan, have taken a moment to answer some questions and introduce themselves to the NAEP R&D community.
- Where are you joining the internship from?
Jazzmine: Portland, Oregon, which is famous for our food carts, rose gardens, and huge independent bookstore.
Talal: Joining the internship from Honolulu, Hawaii.
- What is your education background?
Jazzmine: I have a B.S. in organismal biology and I am soon to defend my Ph.D. in biology: data science at the University of Washington.
Talal: I did my B.S. at Coe College in Iowa, where I majored in computer science and economics. Currently, I am doing my Ph.D. in economics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where I am expected to graduate in 2026.
- What are your research topics of interest?
Jazzmine: I do research on a variety of ecological and social-science-related topics, including investigating the impacts of climate change on wildflowers on Mount Rainier and exploring which seabird species are most susceptible to oil spills.
Talal: I will be working on two projects. The first involves topic modeling for the National Indian Education Study (NIES) teacher responses using natural language processing (NLP) techniques to identify effective and learning strategies for American Indian/Alaska Native students. The second project will look at the impact of green spaces on student outcomes using geospatial techniques.
- What current projects are you working on outside of the internship that you’re excited about?
Jazzmine: I have a paper going through review on which groups are underrepresented in public participation in science (i.e., “citizen science,” where nonscientists help collect scientific data). “Citizen science” is thought of as a great way to increase diversity in science, but our meta-analysis found evidence that the same kinds of groups that are underrepresented in science as a whole (e.g., underrepresented minorities) are also underrepresented in citizen science.
Talal: My current topic of interest involves looking at rural road construction and its impact on economic outcomes (e.g., health, environment, agriculture, and living standards). I am also deeply involved in climate economics in Hawaii. I am looking at the impact of sea level rise on real estate prices.
- What drew you to the internship?
Jazzmine: I was looking for a position doing big data analysis for social good. This fit the bill!
Talal: I found out about the internship while searching for some education-related data for a project I was considering doing. I was immediately drawn to the applied and policy-relevant nature of the work being done at AIR and decided to apply.
- How do you hope to use what you learn in the internship?
Jazzmine: Because I defend soon, I’m hoping that AIR will be a good fit for me to join after I graduate, meaning I would use everything I learn here very directly in future employment!
Talal: I think my experience at this internship will dictate whether I want to pursue academia or industry postgraduation. In the event I go the latter route, this internship will further strengthen my application for future employment.
- What hobbies/special interests/fun facts would you like to share?
Jazzmine: I am a big fan of mysteries and logic puzzles. I spend a lot of my free time reading authors like Agatha Christie and John Dickson Carr.
Talal: Outside work and study, I like to play soccer, hike, and snorkel. I also occasionally surf in calmer waters as I am not a strong ocean swimmer.
The NAEP R&D team is excited to further get to know our new interns! Stay tuned to the NAEP R&D Hub as we continue to put a spotlight on our interns, alumni, and other vital members of the NAEP R&D community. Consider checking out the NAEP Doctoral Internship Program for yourself. You could be part of the next cohort of graduate students working directly with NCES researchers on large-scale assessment data. To be the first to apply to our next internship opportunity, keep checking in on the NAEP R&D Hub and sign up for our mailing list.