Kyra Caspary, PhD, researches the education pathways that support youth in realizing their career and life goals. She studies programs and initiatives designed to improve postsecondary education access and outcomes for youth from underserved communities. These include college and career pathways that integrate academic preparation with career technical education, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) preparation and pathway programs. Her work also examines the skills and dispositions youth need to transition successfully to the workforce and postsecondary education. Her deep and varied methodological expertise incudes evaluation design, survey development and analysis, causal inference, and qualitative data collection and analysis.
Caspary integrates quantitative and qualitative data to provide clients with actionable formative feedback for program improvement. In her research on college and career pathways for underserved youth, Caspary leads several projects that leverage survey data, interview and focus group data, document review, and analysis of student record data to provide funders comprehensive feedback on the progress and impact of education initiatives. Caspary co-leads SRI’s evaluation of the Barr Foundation’s Engage New England, a multiyear undertaking to create innovative school models designed to meet the needs of students who are off track to graduate. SRI is providing formative feedback for continuous improvement and ultimately will assess whether these innovative strategies are helping students graduate with the competencies needed for a changing workforce. In addition, Caspary co-led a multiyear evaluation of ConnectEd’s California Linked Learning District Initiative, an effort to transform high schools through programs of study that integrate rigorous academic instruction with a demanding technical curriculum and work-based learning.
In other research, Caspary examined initiatives to increase access to advanced coursework and postsecondary education for traditionally underrepresented student groups. This work includes SRI’s evaluation of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Bridging the Equity Gap project and SRI’s study of the University of California’s Early Academic Outreach Program. Further, Caspary’s research on preparation for STEM careers includes a mixed-methods study of a program at Los Angeles City College designed to increase Hispanic and low-income students’ participation and success in STEM disciplines.
Before joining SRI, Caspary conducted research on undergraduate admissions policy for the University of California system and managed the University of California Undergraduate Experience Survey, an online survey of all enrolled UC undergraduates. As a researcher at PACE (Policy Analysis for California Education), she led a qualitative study of professional development and retention programs for early childhood educators in two California counties. She began her career in education running a volunteer-based tutoring program for the Austin Independent School District Office of Community Education.
Caspary earned her PhD in education from the University of California, Berkeley and holds a master’s degree from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy.