“ brownbags were a tremendous academic environment that helped socialize me to being an intellectual”
Keith D. Robinson
Assistant Professor, Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin.
Ph.D. Sociology, 2006 University of Michigan
I am currently working in Austin, Texas which is a wonderful place to live. I spend much more time outdoors than I did in graduate school running and biking. My wife Isabelle works just a few blocks from our place and either walks or bikes to work. We thoroughly enjoy our lifestyle in Austin. The southern location of the city, as well as the highly efficient airport has allowed us to take easy trips to the Caribbean and Mexico in the short time we’ve been in Austin. We recently celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary with a trip to Aruba where we snorkeled, relaxed by the beach, and drove the entire island sight-seeing.
Keith Robinson's research focuses on the determinants and implications of test score (achievement) inequality in K-12 education. With the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act the push to equalize achievement differences among poor performing groups has garnered considerable attention from policy makers and the general public. Specifically, there is wide interest in identifying factors that lead some groups of students to perform better than others. D. Robinson's work highlights the extent to which family and school factors contribute to achievement inequality, and suggests ways to equalize these differences. Much can be learned by examining the various stages of K-12 education since the determinants of achievement disparities change as children progress through schooling.
PSC's Influence on Career
I am grateful to many of the PSC professors who influenced my scholarly thinking, abilities, and research agenda. Bill Axinn was especially influential in helping me think like a researcher. He spent a great deal of time showing me how to write a research article, how to conceptualize research problems, and how to find substantively interesting research questions. Scott Yabiku and Dirgha Ghimire were graduate students working for Bill who took me under their wing and provided me with important research training during my first two years at PSC. I worked with Yu Xie during my last two years before graduating and ultimately, he became my dissertation chair. He emphasized the importance of being careful in the methodological aspects of paper writing, and was incredibly influential in shaping my methodological thinking about educational issues. There were others who provided valuable mentorship along the way, including Bob Schoeni, Barbara Anderson, Pam Smock, and Jennifer Barber. All of these people provided the foundation for my career in academia.
Memories of PSC
I have so many memories of PSC. Some that stand out are the brownbag experiences. I learned so much from listening to the questions PSC members asked and the issues they raised. The brownbags were a tremendous academic environment that helped socialize me to being an intellectual. I also fondly remember the time I spent with people who became close friends of mine, and continue to be to this day. So much of our time together was spent at PSC near our cubicles, at lunch at the various restaurants on State Street, and at each other’s apartments. The relationships we formed at UM and the time we spent together are cherished memories I think about often.