Emily is an Education Policy Advisor at Third Way, where she researches and advocates for accountability, transparency, and equity in federal higher education policies. Emily’s background in higher education policy includes research about student mental health, specifically women’s mental health and social media, higher education institutions’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and accreditation processes.

Emily’s passion for her work is grounded in the intergenerational mobility effects of higher education and centering policies around student voices. Students have invaluable perspectives, skills, and dreams. It is the policymaker’s role to listen to and uplift students, especially those who are historically marginalized by higher education institutions and federal policies.

Before coming to Third Way, Emily earned her bachelor’s degree in Hispanic Studies from Davidson College and holds a Master of Public Policy from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. She is a proud Davidson basketball fan and hops on the Duke bandwagon when they play UNC-Chapel Hill. Having interned at Third Way during her graduate school summer, Emily is thrilled to rejoin the fabulous Education team. In her free time, you can find Emily getting outside as much as possible to run, hike, and swim!

Published September 22, 2022

Accreditation Oversight: All Bark, No Bite?

Published July 27, 2022

Why Mental Health Matters for College Completion


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Third Way is a non-profit organization. Our policy innovations, rigorous research, and issue campaigns are made possible by the sustained engagement and generous contributions of our supporters. For more information on how to support the work of Third Way, please contact:

Emily Sternfeld
Vice President of Development and External Affairs
(202) 384 1700
[email protected]


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