This fall, SoHE’s Consumer Science department will welcome Assistant Professor Dr. Melody Harvey as its newest faculty member. Currently finishing a postdoctoral fellowship in the National Poverty Fellows Program with the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP), she will continue at SoHE to build on her research into public policy impacts on economically vulnerable populations in the U.S., and particularly the effect of K-16 financial education on the financial outcomes of youth and young adults across different socioeconomic groups.
Harvey is serving her IRP fellowship in-residence with the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. Under the mentorship of Dr. J. Michael Collins, SoHE’s Fetzer Family Chair in Consumer and Personal Finance, her primary focus with OPRE has been to conceptualize its newly launched descriptive study on how employment and training programs administer financial capability interventions. Prior to joining OPRE, she was an assistant policy researcher at RAND Corporation, where she led quantitative analyses on a program evaluation of a permanent supportive housing program and worked on projects concerning financial decision-making, working conditions, and social programs.
Harvey earned her PhD in policy analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School, where her dissertation examined the effects of state-mandated financial education on two specific behaviors common among young adults: high-cost borrowing and postsecondary education decisions. A resulting paper on financial education and payday borrowing was published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs and received the inaugural National Financial Capability Study Research Award in 2018, and she was invited to present its findings at a 2019 Congressional Briefing on financial literacy.