IDRA welcomes Joanna D. Sánchez, Ph.D., as IDRA’s senior policy researcher. In this role, she collaborates with the policy and research teams to develop relevant and timely data analyses, visualizations and research studies that support IDRA’s mission.
Previously, Joanna served as the chief of staff and vice president for research at Excelencia in Education. In these roles, she contributed to the organization’s mission of accelerating Latino student success in higher education.
Joanna earned her doctoral degree in the educational policy and planning program at the University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation examined the engagement of Latino working-class parents in a South Texas district’s parent academy. Her other research interests include GIS and spatial analysis in education policy, school-family-community partnerships and STEM education. Following her graduation from UT Austin, Joanna completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at Howard University funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) investigating how a collaboration between STEM educators and engineers impacts underserved youth’s participation in engineering design. Her work has been published in education policy analysis archives, Urban Education, AERA Open and The Urban Review.
Joanna is originally from Pharr, Texas, and earned a bachelor’s degree in geosciences from Trinity University. She also holds a master’s of science degree in geographic information systems (GIS) from the University of Denver. She is a first-generation college graduate and a Gates Millennium Scholar. In her free time, Joanna enjoys running, traveling, and spending time with her husband and daughter.