Alexandria Walton Radford

Managing Researcher and Senior Director, Center for Applied Research in Postsecondary Education (CARPE)

Alexandria Walton Radford is a managing researcher and senior director of the Center for Applied Research in Postsecondary Education (CARPE) at AIR. Dr. Radford's primary responsibilities include leading a team and working with partners to improve postsecondary access for underrepresented groups. She is dedicated to using research, evaluation, and technical assistance to provide insights and evidence that inform both policy and practice.

Dr. Radford has over 15 years of experience conducting quantitative and qualitative studies and evaluations on postsecondary persistence and attainment and transitions into and out of postsecondary education. Prior to joining AIR, Dr. Radford was the director of the Center of Postsecondary Education at RTI International. At RTI, her projects focused on an array of critical postsecondary topics, including college counseling; college choice; developmental education; online education; MOOCs; education tax benefits; STEM students; nontraditional students; military students; underrepresented students; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and subbaccalaurate and baccalaureate students’ persistence, attainment, and early labor market outcomes. Dr. Radford also served as the content expert and publications author for two studies housed in the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics: the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS) and the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09).

Dr. Radford is also an accomplished author. Her first book, which she co-authored, No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admissions and Campus Life (Princeton University Press) won the American Sociological Association’s 2011 Pierre Bourdieu Award for the Best Book in the Sociology of Education. Her second book, Top Student, Top School? How Social Class Shapes Where Valedictorians Go to College (The University of Chicago Press) analyzes original survey and interview data she collected in five states. Her third book (in progress), follows up with the valedictorians profiled in Top Student, Top School? to examine how college choice and college experiences affect early graduate school and career outcomes.

Her work has been cited by NPR’s Marketplace and Morning Edition, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and many other mainstream and trade publications.

Alexandria Radford headshot

Ph.D. and M.A., Sociology, Princeton University; B.S., Foreign Service, Georgetown University