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Dr. Maithreyi Gopalan

Dr. Maithreyi Gopalan
Phone: 814-865-2584
Office Address:
302B Rackley Building
University Park, PA 16802
Campus: University Park


Assistant Professor of Education


Education Policy Studies


Education and Public Policy
Educational Theory and Policy

Other Penn State Affiliations

Social Science Research Institute, Population Research Institute, School of Public Policy


Maithreyi Gopalan is Assistant Professor of Education at the Penn State College of Education. She earned a doctorate from the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs from Indiana University, Bloomington. She engages in interdisciplinary, policy-relevant, social science research exploring the causes and consequences of racial and socioeconomic disparities in broadly defined student outcomes using experimental and quasi-experimental research methods. She has applied psychological insights to analyze social and educational policy issues affecting child and adolescent development. More recently, in a new line of research, she is exploring the impact of child and adolescent health on subsequent human development. Specifically, she is examining the impact of health policies on children’s development and the short- and long-term consequences of adverse adolescent mental health on subsequent educational attainment and life course trajectories. She hopes to better engage with a healthy disparities lens to this line of research.

Areas of Expertise

Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education

Educational Psychology

Educational Studies


Higher Education

Higher Education

Individual Difference

Human Development


Equity and Diversity

Methodological Research

Policy Analysis
Quantitative Research

Social Issues

Civil Rights and Education
Education Policy
Race and Ethnicity

Courses Taught

Economics of Education

Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Educational Inequality

Education History

Ph.D. Public Affairs, Indiana University, Bloomington; M.A. Economics, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune, India; B.A. Economics, University of Madras, Chennai, India

Representative Publications

Murphy, M.C., Gopalan, M., Carter, E., Emerson, K., Bottoms, B., Walton, G. (2020). Effects of a social-psychological intervention on persistence and academic achievement of freshmen students in a large public university. Science Advances, 6(29), eaba4677

Gopalan, M., Rosinger, K. & Ahn, J. (2020) Use of Quasi-Experimental Research Designs in Educational Research: Growth, Promise, and Challenges. Review of Research in Education, 44(1), 218-243.

Gopalan, M. & Brady, S.T. (2020) College Students’ Sense of Belonging: A National Perspective. Educational Researcher. 49(2), 134-137.

Gopalan, M. (2019). Understanding the linkages between racial/ethnic discipline gaps and racial/ethnic achievement gaps in the United States. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 27(154). 

Yeager, D. S., Hanselman, P., Walton, G. M., Murray, J. S., Crosnoe, R., Muller, C., …Gopalan, M.,…Dweck, C. S. (2019). A national experiment reveals where a growth mindset improves achievement. Nature, 573 (7774), 346–369.

Gopalan, M., & Nelson, A. A. (2019). Understanding the Racial Discipline Gap in SchoolsAERA Open

Gopalan, M. & Pirog, M. (2017). Applying Behavioral Insights in Policy Analysis: Recent Trends in the United StatesPolicy Studies Journal, 45, S82–S114.


American Educational Research Association - Study of Deeper Learning Fellowship (2020-2021) 

Spencer Foundation (2020-2021)

National Study of Learning Mindsets Early Career Fellow (2018-2019)

National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellow (2017-2018)