Introducing the 2022 NEFE - Knology Financial Education Database Training Fellowship Cohort

Emerging scholars dive deeper into the outcomes of spending on Financial Education

by Knology
May 6, 2022

Investment in financial education across the U.S. varies from state to state. Beside the resources spent by states on class curriculum for students in middle through high school, there is investment from the nonprofit sector. These organizations run out-of-school programs, develop education products, and provide professional development programs for teachers and other education professionals. To date, few studies have assessed the impact of these investments in financial education on individual outcomes, nor has anyone been able to compare the differences between states in this naturally occurring experiment. Part of the challenge is that public records on financial education opportunities and data on people’s financial behaviors are aggregated in separate sources.

In 2021, Knology released a suite of research products to consolidate in one location A New History of Investment in Financial Education across the United States, a project funded by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE). These two products were developed to support researchers in their quest for more empirical evidence to support investments in financial literacy education.

  • The Database and R Package contains records of historical investment in financial education and financial health outcomes for residents across the United States. The database is open access and is offered in .CSV format and as an R package titled KnologyFinEdSpending.
  • The Mapping Tool can be used to represent changes in financial education investments and financial health outcomes from 2001 to 2019. Designed as a Shiny app, the interactive Mapping Tool allows users to manipulate variables such as types of financial education investment and types of financial health indicators and compare data across states and years.

In spring 2022, NEFE & Knology welcome a new cohort of emerging scholars to contribute to the next wave of research, using the database and mapping tool.

The cohort brings together scholars from across the USA, but together also contribute a global perspective on financial education, with life experiences in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. The NEFE and Knology team look forward to this new collaboration, and the opportunity to advance new theory about the results of investment strategies in financial literacy education.

The 2022 NEFE - Knology Financial Education Database Training Fellows

Color photo of Yingying Zeng Yingying ZENG- Yingying (she/her/hers) is a Ph.D. candidate in social work at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and a research associate at the Center for Social Development. Her research interests include wealth disparity, financial capability, immigration, and social policy. She is particularly interested in social policies and programs in promoting financial well-being and equality among marginalized populations, such as low-income families, racial/ethnic minorities, and immigrants. Yingying earned a Master of Social Work degree from Fudan University and the Master of Social Policy from the Brown School in 2016. She has led and participated in a variety of research projects on financial inclusion and socioeconomic outcomes as part of her Ph.D. studies. She is currently working on her dissertation about immigrants’ asset building in the United States. Zeng believes that effective applied social research aims for impact and hopes to advance research that could inform social policies and programs that aim to improve financial well-being.


Color photo of Thomas Korankye Thomas KORANKYE - Thomas (he/him/his) is a Certified Financial Planner(™) professional with over ten years of teaching and research experience from universities in the United States and Ghana. He is an Assistant Professor in Personal and Family Financial Planning at the University of Arizona Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences. He holds both a Masters Degree and Ph.D. in Personal Financial Planning from Texas Tech University, two Masters of Science degrees, in Finance and another in International Fisheries Management from the United States, Sweden, and Norway, respectively. Korankye also possesses a First-Class Honors degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Ghana. His industry experience includes serving as a finance consultant, financial coach, and entrepreneur. He is the recipient of the 2021 Academy of Financial Counseling and Planning Education’s (AFCPE®) Outstanding Symposium Research Award. With over ten publications in peer-reviewed journals, Korankye’s current research focuses on families and individuals’ financial decisions and well-being.


Color photo of Lu Fan Lu FAN - Lu (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia. Her research interests include financial advice-seeking and information search behaviors, consumer well-being, financial education and socialization, and behavioral finance. As a CFP® educator, Lu has a broad teaching interest in personal financial planning areas and is passionate to educate the next generation of financial planning professionals to serve families and communities. Lu now serves as a director for the Academy of Financial Services and serves on editorial boards for the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning and the Journal of Personal Finance. She also provides her services to different professional organizations and academic journals. Before joining UGA, Fan was an Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri. She earned a Ph.D. in Financial Planning, Housing, and Consumer Economics, a Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Georgia and holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing, China. Fan hopes to strengthen her knowledge and skills in using the NEFE/Knology Database and mapping tool to build connections with other scholars and professionals in financial education and related fields.


Color photo of Lena Gan Lena GAN - Lena (she/her/hers) is a current Ph.D. student with the Department of Personal Financial Planning at Kansas State University where she specializes in consumer and household financial analytics, specifically on how people think, feel, and make financial decisions. She has 15 years of work experience in international business and finance, foreign policymaking, and consulting for MNCs and business owners in Asia-Pacific. Gan has served as the Inamori International Fellow at the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC and Vasey fellow at the Pacific Forum in Honolulu. She has a Bachelors degree in Economics, a MBA in Finance and a MA in Political Science. She is also a Certified Financial Planner and a Certified Investment Management Analyst. Gan’s goal is to learn from other passionate and committed researchers on how to cultivate positive financial capabilities through financial education and experience financial wellbeing and increase equity and inclusion for underrepresented individuals.


Color photo of Jeffrey Anvari-Clark Jeffrey ANVARI-CLARK - Jeffrey (he/him/his), will be an Assistant Professor of social work at the University of North Dakota (starting July 2022). His teaching interests include social work practice with individuals, families, and groups; financial social work; and behavioral and mental health. His research focuses on financial behavioral health; racism and financial interdependence; and behavioral interventions in developing financial efficacy. He completed a Ph.D. at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, where he also received his MSW. Anvari-Clark holds a Masters degree in social justice in intercultural relations from the SIT Graduate Institute, and a Bachelors degree in international relations from American University. Jeffrey ran the Family Prosperity Program, conducting financial education, coaching, and eviction prevention case management at Promise Heights in West Baltimore. He is an experienced financial advisor, private financial coach, and ran an IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. He has taught the MSW course Financial Stability for Individuals, Families, and Communities over several years and is an active member of the Financial Social Work Initiative. He is interested in exploring how sharing money impacts the outcomes of financial education.


Color photo of Jack Kroger Jack KROGER - Jack (he/him/his) is a Ph.D. candidate in Policy Analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an Assistant Policy Researcher for the RAND Corporation. His research interests broadly include poverty alleviation, social insurance, and policies designed to improve economic security and well-being. Kroger looks forward to applying his data and statistical skills to questions about how financial education may improve economic outcomes and what mechanisms can help make it more, or less, successful. Jack received a master’s degree in development studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor’s degree with majors in economics and statistics and international relations from Carnegie Mellon University.


Banner photo credit: Susan Q Yin on Unsplash

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