Research News

UW-Madison’s Crespin-Trujillo selected for AEI policy institute in Washington, D.C.

March 11, 2016

UW-Madison’s Valerie Crespin-Trujillo was recently selected to participate in a summer education policy academy sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Crespin-Trujillo is a second-year Ph.D. candidate with the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. The highly selective Education Policy Academy will run Aug. 2 to 6 in Washington, D.C.

Crespín-Trujillo is originally from New Mexico and grew up just north of the border between the United States and Mexico. Prior to enrolling in her Ph.D. program, she was working for the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee, where she was responsible for fiscal and public analyses to ensure performance and effective allocation of resources for state agencies receiving public appropriations, with a focus on New Mexico’s public postsecondary institutions.

Throughout her professional career, Crespin-Trujillo has also worked as a policy and research analyst for the New Mexico Higher Education Department, the governing body for New Mexico’s public postsecondary institutions, and as a staff member of the recently retired United States Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

Crespin-Trujillo says her research interests include: higher education policy formulation, at both the federal and state levels; the financing of postsecondary education; and how these processes interact to impact institutional behavior and student outcomes. Over the course of the current academic year, she has co-presented a paper at the Association for the Study of Higher Education fall conference on the relationship between college tuition and state appropriations, and she has co-authored a couple of invited papers with her advisor, Assistant Professor Nick Hillman, on access and affordability in private higher education and the equitability of state performance funding models for higher education.

“AEI serves leaders and the public through research and education on the most important issues of the day, which is similar to how I situate my research,” says Crespin-Trujillo. “I strive to study some of the most currently pressing higher education issues and work to translate my research for broad audiences, including policymakers, institutional leaders, and the public. I believe it is my continued dedication to higher education public policy that may explain why I was selected by AEI to participate in the Academy.”

Adds Crespin-Trujillo: “As a practitioner and a scholar, I am interested in uniting research and policy in my own work and I seek to create a wider network with other researchers who have similar interests, which is why I wanted to participate in this Academy in Washington, D.C. Often times as graduate students, our networks are limited to our own academic institutions or individuals we meet at large, impersonal conferences, if we can afford to attend them. I feel the AEI’s Policy Academy is a valuable opportunity for me to build relationships with education policy researchers across the country, which will benefit all participants by allowing us to develop collegial connections in an effort to advance our work.”