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National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
Board on Testing and Assessment
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education



Natalie Nielsen, Acting Director
Alix Beatty, Senior Program Officer
Judith Koenig, Senior Program Officer
Matthew Lammers, Program Coordinator 
Kelly Arrington, Senior Program Assistant
Staff Bios 


Natalie Nielsen, Ph.D., is acting director of the Board on Testing and Assessment at the National Research Council (NRC). At the NRC she has directed studies on K-12 education, including the studies that produced the reports Successful K-12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and Monitoring Progress toward Successful STEM Education: A Nation Advancing? Throughout her career, Natalie’s research and program evaluation activities have addressed various topics in K-12 education: federal, state, and district-level reform efforts, educational technology initiatives, after-school programs, teacher quality, data-driven decision-making, youth development programs, high-school reform; and college readiness and access (both generally and in STEM). Before joining the NRC, Natalie was the director of research at the Business-Higher Education Forum, and a senior researcher at SRI International. She has also served as a staff writer for AAAS’ Project 2061, exhibit researcher at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, and exhibit writer and internal evaluator at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Natalie holds a B.S. in geology from the University of California, Davis; an M.S. in geological sciences from San Diego State University; and a Ph.D. in education from George Mason University.

Alix Beatty is a senior program officer for the Board on Testing and Assessment. Since 1996 she has contributed to many projects, including an evaluation plan for the District of Columbia Public Schools; studies of teacher preparation, National Board certification for teachers, and state-level science assessment; and the Committee on Education Excellence and Testing Equity. She has also worked as an independent education writer and researcher. Prior to joining the National Research Council staff she worked on the National Assessment of Educational Progress and College Board programs at the Educational Testing Service. She has a BA in philosophy from Williams College and an MA in history from Bryn Mawr College.


Judith A. Koenig is a senior program officer with the National Research Council’s Board on Testing and Assessment where, since 1999, she has directed measurement-related studies designed to inform education policy. Her work has included studies on NAEP; teacher licensure and advanced-level certification; inclusion of special needs students and English language learners in assessment programs; developing assessments for state and federal accountability programs in K-12 and adult education; setting standards for the National Assessment of Adult Literacy; assessing 21st century skills; and using value-added methods for evaluating schools and teachers. Previously, from 1984 to 1999, she worked at the Association of American Medical Colleges on the Medical College Admission Test where she directed operational programs and led a comprehensive research program on the examination. Prior to that, she worked for ten years as a special education teacher and diagnostician. She received a B.A. in special education from Michigan State University, an M.A. in psychology from George Mason University, and a Ph.D. in educational measurement, statistics, and evaluation from the University of Maryland. 

Matthew Lammers is a program coordinator with the Board on Science Education, the Board on Testing and Assessment, and the Teacher Advisory Council.


Kelly Arrington is a senior program assistant with the Board on Testing and Assessment at the NRC. She provides support to the board itself and a number of its projects. Before coming to the NRC, she received her B.A. in psychology at Shepherd University in WV. Her senior thesis focused on the effect volunteering has on your acceptance of social “out-groups.” While at Shepherd she also minored in French with a concentration in foreign language education. In the next few years she is planning on beginning her Masters in Social Work with a concentration in counseling.


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