Kalena Cortes is the Verlin and Howard Kruse ’52 Founders Associate Professor in the Department of Public Service and Administration at Texas A&M’s Bush School. Her research interest is in the area of the economics of education, and her work focuses on issues of equity and access, in particular, identifying educational policies that help disadvantaged students at the PK-12 and postsecondary levels. She has worked on three key areas: improving academic performance of urban students, increasing access to postsecondary education, and raising educational attainment of immigrant students.
Kalena is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in the Economics of Education program, a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), and a Scholar in the Mindset Scholars Network. Most recently, she was named Texas A&M’s 2020 Presidential Impact Fellow. Kalena has also been a visiting scholar at both Stanford and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, the National Bureau of Economic Research, and Princeton University. She earned a PhD in economics from the University of California at Berkeley and a BA in Economics from the University of California at San Diego.