Jennifer DeBoer joined TLL (The MIT Teaching and Learning Laboratory) as a postdoctoral associate for education research in May 2012. She completed her doctoral work at Vanderbilt University in international education policy studies, where her dissertation, "The Role of Engineering Skills in Development," looked at the trajectory of engineering student formation and the ways in which engineering attainment and achievement are affected by school factors, parental and peer influences, infrastructure and physical resources, and the context in which educational tools are accessed. She received a National Science Foundation/American Educational Research Association dissertation award for one of her dissertation papers.
Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked with the Hole-in-the-Wall project, conducted independent research on engineering education in Tunisia, and interned in international education organizations in Washington DC. She completed her bachelor's degrees in mechanical engineering and foreign languages and literatures at MIT in 2005.
Her research interests include the use of technology in education in low-income contexts and the structure of engineering training for local capacity building. She employs both quantitative and qualitative methods in her work.
She is involved extensively in international engineering education organizations. She served as the president and is the current Global Student Forum international chair for the Student Platform for Engineering Education Development (SPEED), which works to empower students around the globe to make improvements in engineering education systems themselves. She is currently on the executive committee of the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies (IFEES) and the International Studies SIG in the American Education Research Association.