Kalena E. Cortes holds the Verlin and Howard Kruse '52 Founders Associate Professorship at Texas A&M University's Bush School of Government and Public Service. Kalena is the inaugural Director of the Bush School's Program in Education Policy. She is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), and a Mindset Scholar in the Mindset Scholars Network. Most recently, she was named Texas A&M's 2020 Presidential Impact Fellow and 2021 Chancellor Enhancing Development and Generating Excellence in Scholarship (EDGES) Fellow.
Kalena completed her Ph.D. in Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University. Her research interests are in the areas of the Economics of Education, Labor Economics, and Economic Demography. Recent topics include affirmative action policies in higher education, the effects of double-dose algebra and course-scheduling policies on student achievement, postsecondary returns to education, and the educational outcomes of immigrant children in the United States.
Her research has been funded by Spencer Foundation, American Educational Research Association, Greater Texas Foundation, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education - Institute of Education Sciences, and the National Science Foundation.
Kalena E. Cortes joined IZA as a Research Fellow in July 2003.