Founder/Learning Community Director

Andrew Pendola is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Auburn University. His research is focused on the intersection of school policy, educator mobility, and educational equity. Specifically, he examines large scale patterns of educator preparation, recruitment, transfer, and turnover. He currently teaches courses on school law, budgeting, politics, leadership ethics, and equity.

Prior to joining the faculty at Auburn, Dr. Pendola served as an 8th grade history teacher. He completed his M.A. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and his doctorate in Educational Theory and Policy from the Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Pendola runs the AED Research Lab and teaches QMER workshops



Founder/Data Center Director

Dr. Murrah is an Associate Professor of Quantitative Methods at Auburn University. He teaches introductory and advanced research methods courses in the College of Education. His expertise is in cognitive development and learning. 

His research is focused on understanding how our early experiences, motor learning, motivation, and emotions impact how we learn and think in formal and informal educational settings.

He uses large scale data sets including Early Childhood Longitudinal Studies (ECLS) and the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY), and is currently also working with the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) data.

Dr. Murrah is a Co-Founder of the Quantitative Methods in Educational Research (QMER) learning community, and is a co-director of the SCALES Lab.

Prior to joining Auburn University Dr. Murrah earned his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Virginia, where he also completed a postdoctoral fellowship and worked as a research scientist.



Outreach Director

Svetlana Chesser is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Educational Psychology at Auburn University. Her research examines how early childhood experiences shape children and adolescents’ cognition and behavior. Using data from Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS), she is seeking to find out how executive functioning subcomponents (i.e., working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control) develop in response to high-stress environments. The goal is to pinpoint cognitive and behavioral adaptations to harsh environments in youth who have experienced adversity, so we can design educational interventions that work with, instead of against, these adaptations. 

Prior to joining the faculty at Auburn, Dr. Chesser taught psychology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and served for 10 years as 8-12 science teacher. She earned her PhD in Educational Psychology from Auburn University in 2013 and holds master’s degrees in Biology and Chemistry from her native country Belarus.

As a member of QMER, Dr. Chesser coordinates outreach efforts and directs studies at the SCALES Lab.



Recruitment and Outreach Officer

Natalie Neugebauer is a doctoral student in the Educational Psychology program at Auburn. Her research interests encompass school choice decision making for parents of children with special needs, including charter schools, and the perceived barriers to social and educational inclusion for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Her current focus is examining the impact of proneness to self-conscious emotions on the social participation of children with ASD.

Prior to coming to Auburn, Natalie received her B.S. in Psychology from Georgia State University and worked as a full-time research assistant for Emory University’s School of Medicine. As part of her role as research assistant, Natalie managed the Education Sciences Research Core Lab at the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta.

Natalie is the current Recruitment and Outreach Officer of QMER and a member of the SCALES Lab. She is also a graduate assistant in Auburn University Libraries’ Research and Instruction department.



Program Development Officer

Deja Trammell is a doctoral student in the Educational Psychology program at Auburn University. She specializes in Higher Education Administration with a focus on program development and evaluation. Her research interests incorporate culturally sustaining frameworks that inform research, teaching, and practice to improve access and inclusivity of underrepresented racial minorities in postsecondary environments. Her current focus is utilizing anti-deficit achievement framework to support the persistence of first generation African American students in higher education.

Prior to attending Auburn University, Deja received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Biology from Alabama State University and her Master of Social Work with a concentration in Health/Mental Health from Clark Atlanta University. She served as a financial advisor and program development coordinator increasing adult learners understanding and access to financial literacy in Metro Atlanta communities.

Deja is the Program Development Officer of the Quantitative Methods in Educational Research learning community. She serves as a graduate Assistant in the Auburn University Career Center and as an instructor for the First Year Seminar program.

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Research Project Manager

Program: PhD Administration and Supervision of Curriculum

Current Position: Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Educational Foundations,Leadership and Technology, Auburn University

Research Interest: Pedagogical leadership in Early Childhood Education, Numeracy in Early Childhood Education, Educational leadership.