Sheena McConnell's research focuses on using experimental methods to learn about the effectiveness of programs and policies for vulnerable populations.
An expert in policies to promote employment and strong families in disadvantaged populations, she is directing a national experimental evaluation of the Workforce Investment Act Adult and Dislocated Worker programs. These programs, providing training, employment counseling, and other employment-related services, are the backbone of the public workforce investment system in the United States. The study involved randomly assigning about 35,000 job seekers in 28 sites across the United States.
McConnell recently directed a study of the effectiveness of math teachers who entered teaching through Teach For America or the Teaching Fellows programs. The study involved random assignment of over 8,000 students to teachers in over 80 schools. Data on the students were collected both from district records and by administering a study-specific computer-adaptive test in the classroom. McConnell has also taken lead roles in complex experimental evaluations of programs to promote healthy relationships, responsible fatherhood programs, programs that assist people become successful entrepreneurs, and approaches to administering training vouchers. She also conducted an in-depth benefit-cost analysis of Job Corps—a residential program for disadvantaged youth
Prior to joining Mathematica in 1990, McConnell was a lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has published in the American Economic Review, Evaluation Review, the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, and the Journal of Public Analysis and Management (JPAM). Together with other Mathematica staff, she won the Raymond Vernon Memorial Prize for the Best Article Published in JPAM. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University.