Hennessy has worked as a project manager and qualitative researcher on several projects since joining MDRC in 2018. She is currently the project manager for Improving Engagement in Elementary School Selection, an intervention to help families navigate the kindergarten application process launched by MDRC’s Center for Applied Behavioral Science in partnership with the New York City Department of Education. She is also the implementation researcher on the evaluation of City Year’s whole school whole child model, and she oversees research operations on the Strategic Adolescent Reading Intervention.
Before joining MDRC, Hennessy conducted qualitative research on an evaluation of Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates for the Child and Family Research Partnership and worked for the New America Foundation. Hennessy holds a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas Austin and a BA in economics from Lake Forest College.
An Evaluation of the Returning Citizens Stimulus ProgramSeptember, 2021
In April 2020, the Center for Employment Opportunities launched the Returning Citizens Stimulus (RCS), a cash transfer program that offered financial support to people released from prison or jail. The findings in this report suggest that RCS may provide a promising model for smoothing reentry from incarceration.Report
Lessons Learned from a Research-Practice Partnership with New York City’s Department of EducationMay, 2021
A research-practice partnership between MDRC and the New York City Department of Education focused on mutual learning using insights from behavioral science and human-centered design to achieve five learning goals related to the kindergarten application process. This report discusses study results and lessons learned for each of the five goals.
ProjectsWilliam Corrin, Barbara Condliffe, Marie-Andrée Somers, Susan Sepanik, Shelley Rappaport, Margaret Hennessy, Hannah Power, Elizabeth Ederer, Julia Walsh
MDRC , in collaboration with RAND Corporation, Digital Promise, Westat, and Public Strategies, is conducting a large-scale, national evaluation project, the ReSolve Math Study, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.
The coronavirus pandemic led to substantial unfinished learning in math, exacerbating longstanding equity...
The Center for Employment Opportunities ( CEO ), which provides subsidized employment and other services to individuals who have recently returned home from incarceration, launched the Returning Citizens Stimulus ( RCS ) program in April 2020 in response to the COVID -19 pandemic. It provided three monthly cash transfers to people who were recently released from...
Variations in Implementation of Quality Interventions (VIQI): Examining the Quality-Child Outcomes Relationship in Child Care and Early EducationJoAnn Hsueh, Michelle Maier, Frieda Molina, Samantha Wulfsohn, Marie-Andrée Somers, Electra Small, Sharon Huang, Amena Sengal, Alexandra Bernardi, Marissa Strassberger, Noemi Altman, Ilana Blum, Ebony Scott, Margaret Hennessy, Mervett Hefyan, Mallory Undestad, Sharon Rowser, Amy Taub
The Variations in Implementation of Quality Interventions ( VIQI ): Examining the Quality-Child Outcomes Relationship in Child Care and Early Education project is a large-scale, rigorous study with several important aims and implications for current child care and early education policy and practices, including:Determining the effectiveness of interventions for...
Helping children and young adults develop their talents and strengths also helps them contribute to their communities in the future. Yet systemic inequities that disproportionately affect students of color and students from low-income households mean too many young people do not have such supportive learning environments. These inequities lead to disparities in...Caitlin Anzelone, Barbara Condliffe, Rebecca Schwartz, Margaret Hennessy, Xavier Alemañy, Sophia Sutcliffe
The Center for Applied Behavioral Science ( CABS ) at MDRC is excited to launch the Applied Behavioral Coalition ( ABC ) project, which partners with nonprofit organizations that serve vulnerable and at-risk populations in the United States. ABC ’s goal is to build each organization’s foundation in behavioral science and human-centered design principles. Leaders, staff...
Professionals and researchers in education acknowledge there are great disparities in the types of opportunities and quality of teaching that different schools offer to students—and that differences in how students experience transitions into kindergarten, middle school, and high school can magnify inequality over time. School application and enrollment are critical...Caitlin Anzelone, Clinton Key, Mary Bambino, Barbara Condliffe, Rebecca Schwartz, Jared Smith, Margaret Hennessy, Xavier Alemañy
Policymakers and administrators are increasingly using evidence about human behavior to improve the design of social services. People — who often rely on intuition instead of reason, make inconsistent choices over time, and can be overloaded by information — are the clients who receive services, the staff who provide them, and the policymakers who create them....