Researcher Bios:

      Curious. Innovative. Independent. The researchers at the Kingsbury Center have a common goal: to investigate strategies for advancing academic student growth and improving our schools. By partnering with diverse educational leaders, our team is helping to revolutionize education research with high quality data that is designed to inform, empower and make a difference.

      Nate Jensen
      Title: Research Scientist
      Additional Biographical Information:

      Nate joined NWEA as a research specialist after working as senior research associate in the Office for Education Policy in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. He has also worked as a school-based therapist, and taught at a school for children and young adults with special needs. Nate holds a Ph.D. in Counselor Education from the University of Arkansas, an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Framingham State University and a B.S. in Psychology from South Dakota State University. 

      What do you feel is unique about NWEA and how did you come to work here? 

      The thing that attracted me most to NWEA was that this is an organization that is truly committed to partnering with educators to help all students learn. Prior to joining NWEA, I spent a lot of time working in schools helping educators and school leaders interpret and use their testing data, and really welcomed the opportunity to continue that work here at NWEA, to help teachers use testing data to make informed decisions about what is best for their students. Everyone here really works together to meet that common goal of improving education for students, and I feel fortunate and privileged to be able to be a part of this work. 

      What intrigues you most about the work you do?

      With the increased emphasis on accountability and evaluation, I think it is important that school personnel use as much information and data as possible to help make informed decisions about what is best for their students. This is one of the main reasons I wanted to come to the Kingsbury Center – I want to help bridge that gap between policy and practice, between data-collection and decision-making, so that teachers and school leaders are able to best meet the needs of their students.

      What are your three favorite things to do when you’re not working? 

      I am not ashamed to admit that one of my favorite things to do when not working is watching TV/movies – if there is a popular show on at the moment, chances are I’ve probably seen it or it’s in my queue. To balance out the mind-numbingness of TV, I really try to read as much as I can. And finally, when I can manage to pull myself away from the television or a book, I also try to run every once in a while – I’ve completed two half-marathons (in my younger years), and have aspirations (or delusions) of completing a full marathon in the not-so-distant future. 

      If you could research anything – time and money are no object! – what would it be?

      I’d like to conduct a rigorous, mixed-methods analysis of the quality of food and beer at all of the Major League ballparks across the United States. There is currently a major void in this area of research, and I think the skills I have as a researcher can fill this void with precise and thought-provoking work. If anyone is interested in funding this endeavor, please let me know.