At the present time the research team is comprised of Matthew Hora (Principal Investigator), Amanda Oleson, Ross Benbow, and Yimin Wang.

Matthew Hora

Matthew Hora is an Assistant Professor in Adult Teaching and Learning in the Department of Liberal Arts and Applied Studies at UW-Madison, and a research scientist at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. After several years of experience in organic agriculture and food systems research, Matt received his master's degree in applied anthropology from the University of Maryland - College Park. He then worked as a program evaluator of public health initiatives and STEM education initiatives before earning his Ph.D. in the learning sciences from the Department of Educational Psychology at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012.

Matt's work focuses on discerning the cognitive, cultural, and contextual factors that underlay organizational change processes. Using theory and method from cultural anthropology, cognitive psychology, and systems engineering, Matt has explored issues related to curriculum planning, classroom instruction, and data driven decision-making in postsecondary STEM departments. These perspectives are now being applied to the problem of education-workforce alignment, and the degree to which these complex factors can and should be considered when developing public policy regarding education and workforce development.

Hora is based at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) with an appointment in the Center for Education and Work (CEW). For information about Hora’s other research activities please visit: and

Amanda Oleson

Amanda Oleson received her Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Educational Policy Studies in 2013. Amanda’s interests span psychological and institutional supports and barriers to student access and persistence in college, and she is also interested in the PK-20 pipeline and its associated alignment policies and councils. This project about workforce development is a natural extension of her interest concerning the alignment of PK-20 curricula and expectations.

Ross Benbow

Ross Benbow is an assistant researcher with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned a PhD in educational policy studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ross studies the relationships between policy reform, economic development, and individual and community opportunity in both domestic and international higher educational contexts. 


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Exploring the STEM Skills Gap is housed at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Copyright ©2013, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System