Balu joined MDRC in 2011. She coordinates research-practice partnerships, designs interventions for testing in randomized trials, and conducts impact, implementation, and cost analyses for large-scale federal evaluations. In addition, she helps lead efforts for MDRC’s Center for Applied Behavioral Science and the Implementation Research Group. At present, Balu is leading a series of projects to increase parents’ engagement with their children. She also has coordinated several projects focused on how K-12 schools can use data to drive decision-making and improve student outcomes.
Balu earned her PhD in the economics of education and her MA in economics from Stanford University. She received an EdM from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University. Before joining MDRC, she worked as associate director of the Center on Universal Education, served as a Fulbright scholar in Guatemala, and worked for several years as a journalist.