Indiana University Bloomington

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Natasha Yurk

II am a Ph.D. candidate in sociology and an M.S. student in applied statistics at Indiana. I received my B.S. in education and social policy from Northwestern University in 2009.

Broadly speaking, my research examines the dynamic relationship between education and the family. I think of schools and families as institutions that influence each other, with students’ backgrounds shaping their school experiences, and various school experiences affecting broader family dynamics. In my current projects, I ask:

How is student loan debt related to time use in college? (with Daniel Rudel)
We use latent variable models to construct college student lifestyles, and then predict how indebtedness is related to these lifestyles. We find that students can be either empowered or overwhelmed by their debt, and discuss factors that distinguish between these two groups of students.

How does children’s academic performance affect patterns of parental investment?
Using longitudinal fixed effects models, I examine how changes in children’s academic performance are associated with adjustments in parental investment behaviors. Results vary based on the directionality in children’s performance and the type of resource at hand, suggesting that parental investment is highly responsive to school feedback.

Do men and women do college differently? (with Daniel Rudel)
We use longitudinal latent variable models to construct college student lifestyle patterns across the first three years of college. Although many women and men follow the stereotypical routes—with women focusing on academics and men focusing on social activities—other students’ lifestyles change over time. Some women gradually become more social, and some men gradually become more academic. We relate these patterns to larger academic and job outcomes in higher education, as well as notions of gender.

How should parents distribute resources based on academic performance?
In a new project, I will use experimental survey data collected through the Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS) platform to understand how Americans think resources should be distributed in families. Should parents support high achievers, average achievers, or low achievers? What kinds of resources should go to each group?