Louis Soares, MPA
Vice President, Strategy, Research, and Advancement
Specialization: Career and education counseling; community college reform; student consumer information; post-traditional learners; technology and higher education innovation; workforce training
Louis Soares leads ACE’s efforts in Strategy, Research and Advancement.
Soares joined ACE in June 2013 as vice president for policy research and strategy and head of the Council’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy. With more than 20 years of experience in postsecondary education policy and practice, Soares is responsible for further positioning ACE as a thought leader on emerging trends in higher education. While at ACE he published two landmark papers, Post-Traditional Learners and the Transformation of Higher Education and Evolving Higher Education Business Models.
In 2016, The Council expanded Soares’ responsibilities to include organizational strategy with a focus on advancement. In this role, Soares leverages decades of experience in campus-based and non-profit organization fundraising to enhance the Council’s relationships with corporate and philanthropic partners. Soares has developed and successfully implemented projects with support from: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, TIAA Institute, ACT, Verizon Foundation, Fleet Bank, CVS, Bank of America, U.S. Department of Education, and U.S. Department of Labor.
Prior to coming to ACE, Soares served as the director of the postsecondary education program and fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP), a premier Washington, DC based think tank. Prior to CAP, he served as director of business/workforce development under Rhode Island Governor Donald L. Carcieri and as director of education partnerships for the Rhode Island Technology Council. Additionally, he was a small business consultant with the U.S. Peace Corps in Romania.
Soares was appointed by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to serve on the National Board of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education in 2011- 2014.
He holds a master’s in public administration from Harvard University (MA) and a bachelor’s in business economics from Brown University (RI).
Lorelle Espinosa, PhD
Assistant Vice President, Policy Research and Strategy
Specialization: Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education; diverse students and institutions; nontraditional students
Lorelle L. Espinosa serves as assistant vice president for ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy, where she is responsible for the co-development and management of the center’s research agenda which focuses on issues of diversity and equity in 21st century higher education, public finance and higher education systems, and transformational leadership.
Espinosa has served the higher education profession for nearly 20 years, beginning in student affairs and undergraduate education at the University of California, Davis; Stanford University; and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Espinosa has contributed opinion and scholarly works to peer-reviewed journals, academic volumes and industry magazines on a variety of topics. Prior to ACE, Espinosa served as a senior analyst at Abt Associates, Inc. and as director of policy and strategic initiatives for the Institute for Higher Education Policy.
Espinosa holds an MA and PhD in higher education and organizational change from the University of California, Los Angeles; a BA from the University of California, Davis; and an AA from Santa Barbara City College.
Jonathan S. Gagliardi, PhD
Associate Director, Policy Research and Strategy
Specialization: Innovation and entrepreneurship; data and analytics; research, economic, and community development; systems, governance, and organizational transformation
Jonathan S. Gagliardi serves as associate director for ACE’s Center for Policy, Research, and Strategy, where he aids in the development and execution of the center’s research agenda which focuses on issues of diversity and equity in 21st century higher education, public finance and higher education systems, and transformational leadership.
His career began in enrollment management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and then at Yale University. Following this, Gagliardi served the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education as a senior associate focusing on research, economic, and community development; efficiency and innovation; and data governance and stewardship. Most recently, Gagliardi served as the Chancellor’s Fellow for Completion for the State University of New York, and as Deputy Director of the National Association of System Heads, where he co-created and co-led Taking Student Success to Scale, a completion initiative focused on harnessing higher education systems to scale and implement evidence-based innovations nationwide. He has contributed opinion and scholarly works to peer-reviewed journals, academic volumes and higher education conferences on a variety of subjects.
Gagliardi holds an MS and PhD in higher education and policy studies; and a BA from the State University of New York at Albany.
Jennifer Crandall, PhD
Senior Policy Research Analyst, Policy Research and Strategy
Specialization: Access and equity for marginalized students; inclusive policy and practice for culturally and linguistically diverse populations; qualitative research
Jennifer Crandall is a senior policy research analyst for ACE's Center for Policy Research and Strategy, where she manages research projects and conducts qualitative and mixed methods research and analysis on issues such as diversity and equity, transformational leadership in higher education, and innovation in education delivery.
With over 15 years in P-20 education, Crandall more recently served as project director for a Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) grant at The George Washington University and as a U.S. Department of State grantee working with higher education institutions and teacher associations in Russia and India. In addition to consulting on domestic and international projects around pedagogy and diversity in education, she has reviewed submissions for international journals in educational policy and higher education. She has taught in the United States, South Korea, Nepal, and the Slovak Republic and is the recipient of two Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships, U.S. Department of Education.
Crandall holds a PhD in social and comparative analysis in education from the University of Pittsburgh (PA) and an MA in education and a BS in business administration from the University of Colorado.
Jonathan M. Turk, PhD
Senior Policy Research Analyst, Policy Research and Strategy
Specialization: Student outcomes; data policy; advanced quantitative methods; state and federal policy
Jonathan M. Turk is a Senior Policy Research Analyst for ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy. In this role, Turk is responsible for managing research projects, analyzing quantitative and qualitative data, authoring research papers and briefs, participating on technical review panels, and providing research support for ACE’s Division of Government and Public Affairs.
Turk’s own research investigates issues within higher education from sociological, political, and economic perspectives. Specifically, his research examines college student outcomes, the intersections of public policy and student success and completion, and institutional behavior. Turk is an active member of many professional associations and regularly presents research and scholarly papers at the Association for the Study of Higher Education, the American Educational Research Association, and the Association for Institutional Research annual meetings.
Turk holds a PhD in higher education from the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia. He also holds an MS in educational research and a BA in political science and sociology from Iowa State University.
Morgan Taylor, MPP
Policy Research Analyst, Policy Research and Strategy
Specialization: Latino and post-traditional student success; Hispanic-Serving Institutions; diversity and data and policy analysis; higher education policy; institutional leadership
Morgan Taylor joined ACE in October 2016 as a policy research analyst for the Center for Policy Research and Strategy, where she conducts research and analyzes quantitative and qualitative data relating to issues of diversity and equity in twenty-first-century higher education. She also lends her expertise to matters related to higher education policy, institutional leadership, and governance.
Prior to joining ACE, Taylor served as a research analyst at Excelencia in Education, where she used higher education policy, data analysis, and evidence-based institutional practices to develop reports and infographics on issues affecting Latinos in higher education. Through this work, Taylor interpreted quantitative research and data into policy, with the intention of adding a human connection to data.
Taylor holds an MPP in public policy from The George Washington University and a BA from Grand Valley State University.
Elizabeth Howard, MA
Assistant Analyst, Policy Research and Strategy
Elizabeth Howard joined ACE in May 2016 as an assistant analyst for the Center for Policy Research and Strategy. In this role, Howard provides research and program support for the Center. Prior to joining ACE, Howard worked as a graduate teaching assistant at the College of William and Mary. She has also worked as an editorial and research assistant, as well as providing administrative support for education programs. She is interested in issues of diversity and equity in higher education. Howard holds an MA in American Studies from the College of William and Mary, and a BA in American Studies from Yale University.
Wei-Lin Chen, MA
Graduate Research Associate, Policy Research and Strategy
Specialization: Race, equity and inclusion; community college; college experience and student outcomes; marginalized students, advanced quantitative methods
Wei-Lin Chen joined ACE in the fall of 2016 as a graduate research associate in the Center for Policy Research and Strategy.
Chen is currently a PhD candidate in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies at the University of Iowa. His research examines the impact of community college experiences, such as faculty-student interactions and academic advising, on student success from the perspectives of race and age difference.
He also serves as a graduate research assistant for the program called Research Assistant for Realizing Educational and Career Hopes (UI REACH), and evaluates the impact of UI REACH program on college students with disabilities.
Prior to pursing his doctoral degree, Chen worked for Center for Educational Research and Evaluation, funded by Taiwanese Ministry of Education. Chen holds an MA in sociology of education from National Taiwan Normal University (Taiwan) and a BA in Chinese from National Kaohsiung National University (Taiwan).
Sue-Yeon Song, MA
Graduate Research Associate, Policy Research and Strategy
Specialization: Higher education governance; higher education reform; higher education system; marketization of higher education, international comparative higher education
Sue-Yeon Song joined ACE in the fall of 2016 as a graduate research associate in the Center for Policy Research and Strategy.
Song is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Higher and Postsecondary Education Program at New York University, expected to complete her doctoral requirements by this year. Her dissertation research focuses on the impact of governance in higher education systems on university restructuring from a cross-national perspective using a mixed-method approach. Her research interests include broader topics such as higher education governance, marketization in higher education, university restructuring, comparative higher education systems, and international issues in higher education.
Prior to joining ACE, Song served as a Research Analyst at the NYU Office of Academic Program Review. She was involved in the state authorization project, contributing to content coding of complex laws and regulations relevant to regulatory compliance standards, as well as the non-classroom experience project for which she conducted analysis reporting of NYU students’ educational activities. Before pursuing her doctoral degree, she worked as a research assistant on various research projects conducted at the Institute of Social Development and Policy Research collaborating with foreign research teams.
Song holds an MA in sociology from Seoul National University and a BA in social studies education from Ewha Womans University, South Korea.