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Marissa Block

MPP '19

Marissa Block believes in the power of rigorous evidence-based research to impact public policy. As an undergraduate at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, she won a Community Learning Initiative Research Fellowship to conduct econometric-based research on characteristics of students who apply to a school choice program. She studied abroad at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and has also studied Arabic at the University of Wisconsin and in Morocco at the Arab American Language Institute. Outside the classroom, Block received a Davis Projects for Peace grant to assist an orphanage in rural Kenya. She also managed student participation in two Model United Nations conferences, co-founded the Model Arab League at Trinity College, and tutored a small group of Iraqi student immigrants as a volunteer with House of Peace. 

After graduating, she extended this interest to the international sphere as an economic research assistant with Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Block’s analytical work supported the development of cost-benefit models for education projects in El Salvador and Côte d’Ivoire. Additionally, she is coauthor of an annual report that identifies and assesses trends in economic rates of return across MCC investments. 

While at Harris, Marissa worked as a research assistant for the UChicago Urban Labs, where she supported evaluations of education programs. She was also a staff writer for the Chicago Policy Review. In summer 2018, she interned in Delhi, India, with Evidence for Policy Design, a Harvard research center, where she focused on how evidence is currently collected and applied to decision-making. She is now employed as an analyst at Fraym.

Baidoa, Somalia

Makeshift, temporary shelter made of plastic and clothing at a refugee center in Baidoa, Somalia.