Carsey School of Public Policy Research Assistant Professor Jess Carson and Ph.D. student Kamala Nasirova met the summer of 2021 through a mutual colleague. Nasirova, a second-year student in UNH’s education program, was interested in policy-related work that aligned with her interests in education, equity, inclusion and student opportunity gaps. At the time, Carson was preparing for a major research project examining the availability of early childhood care in New Hampshire and Vermont’s Upper Valley region and was seeking graduate support. Nasirova’s research interests, fellowship experience with the Vermont Agency of Education and master’s degree work at Saint Michael’s College made her the ideal candidate.
Initially, Nasirova’s work involved gathering legislative information about the policy decisions and funding mechanisms underlying early childhood care in the Upper Valley. When the Carsey School was selected to perform a family needs assessment as part of a major statewide Preschool Development Grant, Carson quickly turned to Nasirova and asked her to join her on the work.
Early childhood care and education policy is a complex area and the effects of the pandemic have only exacerbated the challenges facing this sector. I’m hopeful that the work we’re doing together can inform state and regional stakeholders who are working on systems-strengthening policy.
“Because Kamala was seeking some applied policy research experience and opportunities to sharpen her statistical skills, working at the Carsey School has allowed her to exercise her policy interests in a way that doesn't exist anywhere else at UNH," says Carson.
"Early childhood care and education policy is a complex area and the effects of the pandemic have only exacerbated the challenges facing this sector. I’m hopeful that the work we’re doing together can inform state and regional stakeholders who are working on systems-strengthening policy," she adds.
In addition, the work they’ve done together has helped Nasirova incorporate an early childhood education focus into her dissertation.
“Throughout the time I’ve worked with Jess, I’ve had the unique opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge into practice and build my research skills from a policy perspective,” adds Nasirova. “And now I’ve begun using these skill sets to do research in the education field.”