Sumner Perera
Research Assistant, Postsecondary Education

Perera is a research assistant in MDRC’s Postsecondary Education policy area. Since joining MDRC in 2021, she has coordinated work on several proposals and projects at various stages of development and provided direct technical assistance to college partners. Past projects include the Achieving the Dream study and technical assistance for the Student Freedom Agreement. Currently, she is the lead report coordinator and a coauthor of the Tools for Postsecondary Schools toolkit, which distills two decades of MDRC research into evidence-based strategies for college professionals at two- and four-year institutions. She is also the report coordinator and coauthor of a report on the Text Ed Demonstration Project, a randomized controlled trial that evaluated the effect of a messaging program on client outcomes in the Educational Opportunity Center program—part of the Federal TRIO Programs to support the educational advancement of students from underserved backgrounds. Before joining MDRC, Perera gained professional experience in political organizing with the North Carolina Democratic Party and strategic partnerships experience with Global Citizen. She holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology from Harvard University.