Elena
Serna-Wallender
Research Associate, Postsecondary Education Policy Area

Serna-Wallender plays a variety of lead roles in project management, partnership development, program design and improvement, and qualitative research for projects carried out in collaboration with community colleges, K-12 districts, and nonprofit organizations, with the overarching goal of finding ways to improve college access, persistence, and success for low-income and underrepresented students. Before joining MDRC, Serna-Wallender served as a caseworker for Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas and as a special projects coordinator for the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, a grassroots environmental advocacy group. She has a master’s degree in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.