American Institutes for Research’s Megan Austin Receives AERA Dissertation Award for Study of High School Inequalities

Image of Megan AustinWashington, D.C.Megan J. Austin, a researcher at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), is the recipient of the 2019 Dissertation Award from Division L of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Austin received the award Saturday at the AERA annual meeting, being held in Toronto, Canada.

AERA’s Division L covers research focused on education policy, including political, economic, legal and fiscal issues. Dr. Austin received the award for her dissertation, High School Curricular Intensity: Inequalities in Access and Returns Over Three Cohorts, which includes three papers that develop a new measure of the quantity and quality of students’ academic course taking in high school and use that measure to examine changes in course taking for three nationally representative cohorts of students. She wrote her dissertation while obtaining a Ph. D. in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Austin joined AIR in September 2017 and, among her work, directs research studies for Regional Education Laboratory (REL) Midwest and leads applied research for REL Southeast. She also leads research and evaluation efforts related to school choice at AIR and contributes content and methodological expertise to two IES-funded meta-analysis studies. Prior to joining AIR, she helped manage a large research study on school choice in Indiana and has authored several journal articles and book chapters on the study findings.

About AIR
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education and workforce productivity. For more information, visit


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