The Center for Promise, under the leadership of Executive Director, Jonathan Zaff, is seeking a quantitative post-doctoral researcher.

The Center for Promise, in collaboration with Tufts University’s School of Arts and Sciences, is the research center for America’s Promise Alliance. The Center conducts applied research, exploring how all children and youth experience the key developmental supports they need to thrive and graduate from high school ready for college, work, and life. America’s Promise refers to these supports as the Five Promises: Caring adults, Safe and Constructive Surroundings, a Healthy Start, an Effective Education, and Opportunities to Serve Others. The knowledge developed by the Center is used by America’s Promise in its initiatives to achieve its GradNation goal of a 90% high school graduation rate by 2020. (for more information about America’s Promise, see

Given the collaborative culture of the Center, the person appointed to this post-doctoral position will work on multiple projects. However, his or her primary assignment will be on the following two projects.

  • From Re-engagement to Graduation: Examining why and how re-engaged young people persist (or do not persist) through to graduation. This longitudinal study is being conducted in partnership with a network of re-engagement schools that use blended learning, individualized attention and pacing, and a focus on positive, nurturing youth-adult relationships as the levers for promoting positive academic and social-emotional trajectories.
  • Developing within a Youth System: Examining the relationship between contextual assets and challenges and the characteristics of individual youth; with a focus on youth living in low-income, urban communities. Using a collection of primary and secondary data sources, this project involves analyses examining how families, schools, communities, and individual assets are, together, implicated in a young person’s academic, social, emotional, and civic development.

The initial appointment will be for one year, with the possibility of extension for an additional 1-2 years. The ideal candidate will possess skills in advanced statistical methodologies (e.g., growth and multi-level models, SEM, propensity scores, and Latent Profile, Class, and Transition Analyses). Experience with mixed-methods research and project management is particularly desired. The successful candidate will be a highly motivated individual able to work efficiently and productively in a fast-paced, multifaceted research environment. The candidate should be able to work successfully as a team member on some project goals and independently on others. Flexibility in work hours and availability for travel is essential.

Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • Development of measures for studying youth development;
  • Managing the overall logistical tasks of longitudinal projects including data collection methods, IRB approval and site outreach and communication;
  • Supervising and mentoring graduate students;
  • Data management and analysis of large sample multi-method data, including longitudinal data;
  • Presentation of research findings at national and international meetings;
  • Publication of research findings in peer-reviewed journals, special interest publications, and reports for policy and practice audiences;
  • Grant writing;
  • Contributing to general project oversight and management.


  • Ph.D. or Ed.D. in a social science field with a focus on developmental science (psychology, sociology, child development, family studies, education);
  • Knowledge of advanced quantitative statistical methods (e.g., confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation models, multi-level models);
  • Demonstrated interest and commitment to work in youth development;
  • Enthusiasm for intellectual rigor and engagement;
  • Excellent writing ability and publication record;
  • Ability and willingness to work productively in a fast-paced and often demanding environment, with deadlines;
  • Experience working in a team environment; ability to work both independently and collaboratively;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.                                   

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. By email, please send a letter of application, curriculum vitae, 2-3 publications, and the names and contact information of three references to:

Marissa Cole Email:

Associate Director, Center for Promise