Senior Research Associate, Early Care and Education @ MEF Associates

Senior Research Associate, Early Care and Education

Do you get excited about diving deep into data, insights, and research?

Do you aspire to conduct research aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable individuals, children, and families?

Do you like working on collaborative teams to drive social change?

The Team

MEF Associates is a well-established social policy research organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals, children, and families through rigorous research and high-quality technical assistance.

For the last decade, we have worked at all levels of government and with various non-profits focused on bettering policy related to child and family well-being, child care and early education, workforce development, and income security. Our team combines diverse work experiences and expertise to deliver meaningful, data-driven solutions.

The Culture

Our staff come to MEF because of our ability to make a difference through research. Each one of us brings a unique perspective, diversity of approach, and uncompromising commitment to research excellence. We believe that what we do impacts the effectiveness and efficiency of public policy and programs. Through this work, we realize our mission to improve the lives of vulnerable individuals, children, and families. We strive to use inclusive research methods that promote collaboration with the programs and communities with whom we work.

We value a diverse workforce and the benefits that come from research being conducted by individuals with varied backgrounds and life experiences.

As a relatively small firm, we value close collaboration and a supportive work culture. We are committed to the growth and professional development of our staff.

The Opportunity

We have room on our team for a Senior Research Associate, ideally located in Massachusetts or the New England area.

The work you do will represent a mix of qualitative and quantitative research on projects dealing with issues specific to children and families, including early childhood. Ideally, this person will have familiarity with a few related topical areas, which may include but are not limited to:

  • Federally funded early care and education initiatives (e.g., Head Start, Child Care Development Fund, Preschool Development Grant)
  • State policies to support early childhood (e.g., state funded pre-kindergarten, governance, state finances for early childhood, integrated data systems, workforce issues)
  • Early childhood practices and policies that promote equity and are culturally and linguistically responsive
  • Child welfare
  • Family engagement
  • Parenting and father engagement
  • Child support

We are particularly interested in someone who has experience researching or providing technical assistance to state administrators on topics such as those listed above.

We are also particularly interested in someone who has experience conducting participatory-based research and integrating equitable evaluation principles into their work.

While each project can be vastly different, the work you do could look something like:

  • Serving as project manager for ongoing research and evaluation work
  • Leading field research teams or assisting in field research and conducting site visits
  • Managing data analysis projects
  • Authoring or contributing to reports, proposals, and presentations
  • Conducting literature reviews
  • Designing and implementing surveys and focus groups
  • Identifying new business opportunities and writing proposals

While our team has varied backgrounds filled with valuable experiences, we look for a consistent set of things that we believe contribute to success. They include:

  • A graduate degree in child development, public policy, economics, or related social science fields
  • At least eight years of relevant prior experience working on relevant research and evaluation projects demonstrating progressively increased responsibilities.
  • Demonstrated excellence in writing and verbal communication
  • Effective project management skills, including managing budgets and staffing, and experience with ability to multi-task and prioritize a varied workload in a fast-paced environment
  • Commitment to details and accuracy
  • Proficient in interpersonal skills and collaborating with others in a respectful way
  • Ability to travel domestically on occasion

While not requirements, we feel the following skills would be beneficial:

  • Fluency in Spanish, written and verbal
  • Experience working for federal, state, and private clients on social policy issues
  • Working knowledge of statistical or qualitative software package (e.g., Stata, Dedoose, NVivo)

This role includes work to be performed primarily in an office environment. It typically includes frequent phone/audio communication and/or video conferencing usage; and extensive computer, keyboard, and mouse use. It requires the ability to travel domestically by airplane on occasion. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

If this sounds like the kind of work you long to do and the kind of team you see yourself in, we invite you to reach out to start the conversation.

Please apply by filling out this form, which includes space to upload your resume and cover letter.

MEF is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages people of color, women, people with disabilities, and veterans to apply.

Compensation and benefits: The salary range for this position is $100k to $150k depending on experience. MEF offers comprehensive benefits.

Applicants must be authorized to work for ANY employer in the U.S. We are unable to sponsor or take over sponsorship of an employment Visa at this time.

  • Paid job
  • Professional development
  • Research
  • Post-graduation