Research Associate, Postsecondary Education

Cerna’s work at MDRC concentrates on implementation research and program development at various community colleges across the country. He has been involved in several large-scale projects focused on student success initiatives, including Achieving the Dream, the University System of Georgia’s African American Male Initiative, the Adult Basic Education study, the Learning Communities Demonstration, and the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration. As part of the Postsecondary Education policy area, Cerna serves as the project director for the Latino Academic Transfer and Institutional Degree Opportunities (LATIDO) project, which examines institutional initiatives that improve college outcomes for Latino college students attending Hispanic-Serving Institutions in California. Before joining MDRC, Cerna conducted research and evaluation for WestEd and for Bay Area Community Resources. A former community college graduate himself, Cerna transferred to the University of California-Irvine as an undergraduate and continued on to graduate school at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.