Researcher Bios:

      Curious. Innovative. Independent. The researchers at the Kingsbury Center have a common goal: to investigate strategies for advancing academic student growth and improving our schools. By partnering with diverse educational leaders, our team is helping to revolutionize education research with high quality data that is designed to inform, empower and make a difference.

      Beth Tarasawa
      Title: Research Scientist
      Additional Biographical Information:

      Beth joined NWEA in 2011 as a research specialist while working as a clinical assistant professor of sociology at Washington State University Vancouver. She has also worked as an assistant professor and instructor at St. Norbert College and Emory University.  As a sociologist by training, her research focuses on policy issues related to educational equity, particularly those concerning social class, race, gender, and linguistic diversity. Beth’s prior research has been funded by the Spencer Foundation, National Science Foundation, and American Sociological Association. She has published in a variety of journals including, Education and Urban Society, Journal of Latinos and Education, Contemporary Sociology, and Bilingual Research Journal.  Beth holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology from Emory University and a B.S. in sociology from Portland State University.


      What do you feel is unique about NWEA and how did you come to work here?

      The Kingsbury Center extends NWEA’s mission, “Partnering to Help All Kids Learn,” by collaborating with universities, philanthropic foundations, and school districts to produce rigorous and accessible research related to educational policy. From our work with school administrators on how to use data to leverage school-wide improvements to our collaborations with various foundations and university researchers to understand student achievement patterns, our research touches many lives. It is deeply rewarding to work for an organization with this type of reach and it is a privilege to be surrounded by dedicated colleagues that are passionate experts in their fields.

      A few years ago, while living in Wisconsin, I worked on a university-community research project that used MAP® data to examine how summer losses/gains vary by student socio-economic status and the impact of summer school programming in a local public school district. That applied work inspired me to pursue a career at the Kingsbury Center, where I have the opportunity to work on a variety of research projects that have the potential to make a meaningful impact on educational practice and policy.


      What are you reading right now?

      Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination


      When was the last time you were out of the country? 

      Riviera Maya, Mexico- for a destination wedding. It was a lovely trip where I got a chance to catch up with my Atlanta friends and it provided a much needed break from the months of Portland rain. 


      What is your favorite restaurant in Portland?

      Sometimes a girl just needs a really good bowl of pho…And Pho Oregon has the best broth in town. Anthony Bourdain sums up my thoughts on the classic Vietnamese dish.