Nicole Beechum is a Senior Research Analyst at the UChicago Consortium on School Research. Nicole is trained as a social worker and approaches the experiences of students in urban school districts from an equity and strengths-based perspective. Her research interests include the transition to high school and postsecondary opportunities, teacher-student relationships, and how noncognitive factors contribute to student success. Nicole has worked on various research projects for the Postsecondary Transition Project at UChicago Consortium, including research examining the effects of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program in neighborhood schools in Chicago, understanding college match among CPS graduates, designing a teacher learning network to implement noncognitive practices in eighth- and ninth-grade classrooms, and tracking the rise in on-track among freshmen in Chicago Public Schools. These last two projects led to work facilitating professional development with schools in the Network for College Success.
Prior to her work at UChicago Consortium and doctoral study, Nicole was a Program Development Specialist with Umoja Student Development Corporation. At Umoja, Nicole created and implemented social emotional programming, curricula, and teacher professional development for various partner high schools in Chicago. Her work at Umoja also included establishing a new charter school’s College and Career Office. These experiences were foundational in helping Nicole focus her work on key academic experiences, particularly the transitions to high school and post-secondary opportunities.
Nicole is completing her doctorate at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation research uses quantitative and qualitative methods to explore academic engagement for African American adolescent males following the transition to high school. She received her AM from School of Social Service Administration in 2006 and a BA in political science from Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles in 2001. Nicole was previously a McCormick-Tribune Urban and Community Leadership Fellow (2004-2006), an Institute for Education Sciences Fellow (2009-2013), and a Milgrom/Successful Pathways from School to Work grantee (2015-2016). Nicole is a fellow in the Surge Institute’s second cohort, a leadership accelerator designed to increase Black and Latino leadership in urban education.