Education Policy Analytics Lab

Our Team

MinSun_rsDr. Min Sun (PI) , Assistant Professor

Dr. Sun specializes in using quantitative methods to understand the impact of federal, state, and district policies on preparing, recruiting, distributing, evaluating, and incentivizing teachers and principals that affect teaching and learning outcomes. She also studies spillover mechanisms and effects among teachers. Her interest is also in understanding the impacts of policy interventions in schools and the heterogeneous effects of these interventions across subgroups of schools, teachers and students.

Dr. Sun’s work has been published in peer-reviewed journals of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, American Journal of Education, Teachers College Record, Educational Administration Quarterly, and School Effectiveness and School Improvement among others. Her research has received support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Jing Liu, Research Associate

Jing Liu ( is a Ph.D. candidate in the Economics of Education at Stanford University, where he also earned his M.A. in Economics in 2016. Jing applies sophisticated quantitative methods, especially some of the newest data science methods, towards understanding the causes of education inequality and informing effective policy solutions that will combat inequality and improve education effectiveness. At the same time, he engages in research-practice partnerships to address education practitioners’ most pressing issues, such as reducing student absenteeism and alleviating shortages in substitute teachers. His work has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals, such as the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. He is currently a National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellow.

photoJunmeng Zhu, Research Associate

Junmeng was an undergraduate major in Economics and Statistics at the University of Washington and is now a doctoral candidate in the UW’s College of Education. She is a lead research associate for EPAL. With great interest in educational research, she hopes to apply her economic and statistical skills to future projects.

Zach LeClair, Research Associate

A native of Shoreline, Washington, Zach recently completed his Master’s in Education Policy at the University of Washington. He joins EPAL after six years of working as an elementary school teacher, first in Seattle, then in Mumbai, India, and most recently in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Research areas of interest include school improvement, education finance, and early learning. He brings a quantitative background in behavioral psychology and a passion for supporting public schools to his work in education policy research.



Daniel Merken, Research Associate

Daniel is an undergraduate computer science major at University of Washington and a student research associate for EPAL. He is excited to be applying his programming skills to support educational policy research, as part of his ongoing exploration of the diverse applications of computer science.

Advisory Board

Susanna Loeb (Stanford University) specializes in the economics of education, specifically the distribution of teaching quality and the influences of policy on teachers’ career decisions.

Zeyu Xu (American Institutes for Research and affiliated researcher with National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research) is a leading expert on the use of value-added models in evaluating teacher effectiveness. He has extensive experiences in analyzing FL and NC data.

Ken Frank (Michigan State University) is a leading expert in causal inference and using large-scale NCES data.

Thomas Smith (University of California, Riverside) has conducted numerous research on the relationships among policy, school organization, beginning teacher retention, and the quality of classroom instruction.