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Meet Andrew Greer

Posted by on Friday, November 14, 2014 in Successful Alumni.

While at Vanderbilt I focused my dissertation on the effectiveness and efficiency of homelessness prevention in California and New York.  The evaluation work I am doing now at Westat is a logical continuation of that.  For example, I build statistical models to evaluate whether homelessness services affect a variety of outcomes.  Compared to my program, my current work requires more qualitative analysis and at times I miss the teaching that I used to do at Vanderbilt, though my current position works well for my career journey.  I am getting useful practical experience in the private sector that I hope to use one day in the public sector or academia.

When you are in the thick of your program, it’s really hard to have perspective.  From my new perspective on the other side, I have a few tips:

  • Explore your research interests but find your path quickly.
  • From there on, it is all about balance.  Take a night off once in a while (but only one night).
  • My advisor, Marybeth Shinn, was compassionate and really guided my work while also being interested in me as a person.  A good advisor is crucial.
  • Always do good work.  Between the choice of turning in bad work on time or good work late, always choose good work.

As you’re nearing the end of your program, it’s easy to get swept up in dissertation writing and forget about preparing for life beyond graduation.  I found it helpful to take breaks from dissertation writing by working a little on my résumé, CV, and LinkedIn profile.  It takes more time than you think to get started with all the materials you need to begin the job search.  Beyond the help that you can find from Ruth at Graduate School Career Development and the Center for Teaching, use your friends in the same program and bounce ideas off of each other.  For example, practice interviewing or preparing your statements with peers.

Having your dissertation done is such a relief, but can also leave you feeling bereft.  This major project which has taken up so much of your time and life is suddenly done.  If you can, I would recommend taking a month off after it’s finished to relax, maybe travel.  I didn’t do this, but I wish that I had.  It can be hard to transition to life outside of graduate school, but it’s also really exciting, and you don’t have a dissertation taking up all your time.  All the hard work in grad school is worth it because it prepares you to make that leap.  It can be intimidating, but just go for it.

Andrew’s Fun Facts!

Current City: Rockville, MD

Current position: Research Associate at Westat

Degree program: Community Research and Action


Favorite professor: Marybeth Shinn, my advisor


Favorite Nashville restaurant: Miel’s, a great French restaurant off of Charlotte in West Nashville


Favorite place to study: Two places: 1) A dissertation writing nook I created in my home, and 2) the second floor of Portland Brew in East Nashville


If you would like to learn more  about Andrew and his work at Westat, send him an email.

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