Elisha Smith Arrillaga, Ph.D. is fiercely committed to increasing education and workforce opportunities for students of color. Throughout her more than 20 years of leadership in for profit, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, she has worked to center students in moving practice and policy change at both the state and national level. Most recently, she led work to change K-12 and postsecondary math education policy in over 35 states while serving as the Managing Director of the Charles A. Dana Center, a national center on STEM equity at The University of Texas at Austin. She also led several statewide research and advocacy initiatives as the Executive Director of the EducationTrust—West, the California branch of a national research and advocacy nonprofit organization committed to educational justice for students of color, students from low-income communities, and English learners.
She has taught at both the K-12 and postsecondary levels and has also worked for and partnered with many organizations, including the Careers Ladder Project, the Hewlett Foundation, Mathematica Policy Research, and College Bound. She has served on numerous committees, boards, and taskforces—among them are the Google Equitable Artificial Intelligence Research Roundtable, the Selection Committee for the California Governor’s Office Education Learning Laboratory Grant Competition, and the Institute for Education Science’s Technical Working Group on Data Science Education. She has authored dozens of publications and is often interviewed by media outlets.
Dr. Smith Arrillaga holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Mathematics from Smith College, a Master’s of Science in Survey Methodology from the University of Maryland at College Park, and a doctorate from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. She is currently on the faculty of the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin.
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