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Headshot Devora Shamah

Dr. Devora

Executive Director, Research & Assessment

Dr. Devora Shamah is the executive director of research and assessment at Achieving the Dream. In this role she focuses on our culture of evidence and better understanding the institutional transformation work at ATD Network colleges. She provides training to program partners in data collection, using data to support student success, and identity-based motivation. Her research and evaluation projects focus on student support, positive youth development, and program improvement.

Dr. Shamah spent the first decade of her career as a K–12 teacher in a variety of classrooms and neighborhoods with much of her time spent working in an alternative middle school in an urban neighborhood. Her work with rural teachers led her to the field of human development training where she examined the complex contexts that shape the life course. She has conducted research on families, educational, career, and family aspirations in adolescence; sense of purpose; youth in rural communities; and identity development in adolescents and young adults. Prior to joining ATD, she was part of the Gateway to College Research and Evaluation Team, where she led the ongoing analysis as part of the organization’s continuous improvement work. She lives in rural Oregon.


Ph.D. (Human Development and Family Studies) | Oregon State University

M.S.T., (Elementary Education) | University of Chicago

B.A. (Communications) | University of California, San Diego

Past Experience

Director, Research and Evaluation | Gateway to College National Network

Instructor | College of Education, Oregon State University

Program Coordinator, NSF GK-12 Rural Science Education Program | Oregon State University

Teacher/Advocate | Open Meadow Middle School

How has education changed your life/your family?

As a child, school was where I felt most at home. I was an avid reader and used my school library as my doorway to explore the world. My parents prioritized education and it was expected that I would attend college, but even as a child I was keenly aware that this was not true for all my classmates or my extended family members. As a teacher I have seen the power of accessible, affordable, quality education to give students a pathway to their highest aspirations as they take their place as vibrant members of their communities.

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