CREO Grads Earn Honors at 2019 AERA Conference

Author: Theo Helm

Two graduates from the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Research in Educational Opportunity (CREO) were honored at last week’s American Education Research Association (AERA) conference in Toronto for outstanding work on their dissertations.


Megan Austin won the AERA Division L (Policy & Politics) 2019 Dissertation Award, and Julie Dallavis won the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the AERA’s Catholic Special Interest Group (SIG). Each earned her Ph.D. in sociology from Notre Dame as a member of CREO.



Austin is a researcher at the American Institutes for Research, where she develops and directs research studies and technical assistance projects for the Midwest Regional Educational Laboratory, Southeast Regional Educational Library, and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of State Support.


Austin’s dissertation, High School Curricular Intensity: Inequalities in Access and Returns Over Three Decades, develops a new measure of the quantity and quality of students’ academic course taking in high school and uses that measure to examine changes in course taking for three nationally represented cohorts of students.




Dallavis is a member of the faculty of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives and works with the Institute’s Program Evaluation and Research Team. She also teaches in the Education, Schooling, and Society minor.Division L encompasses research on educational policy and politics, including economic, legal, and fiscal issues.


Her dissertation, Does a School’s Mission Matter? Examining Explicit Statements and Underlying Beliefs, examines changes in mission statements in conjunction with the expansion of school choice, the role of adoption and promotion of mission statements by teachers and principals, and the relationship between academic-focused aspects of mission statements and students’ academic performance.


The Catholic SIG supports and promotes research and evaluation of Catholic education, including interdisciplinary and international issues.


Originally published by Theo Helm at on April 22, 2019.