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Melissa Cominole

Senior Research Education Analyst


PhD, Education Research and Policy Analysis, North Carolina State University
MS, Sociology, North Carolina State University
BA, Humanistic Studies, Guilford College


Melissa Biber Cominole, a senior research education analyst in the Education and Workforce Development division at RTI International, has more than 20 years of experience in data collection design, quantitative and qualitative analysis, dissemination, and task and project management for both federal and foundation clients. For more than 10 years, Dr. Cominole has led large-scale postsecondary education and outcomes studies as well as mixed-methods education evaluations. She has developed strong managerial skills, successfully collaborating with clients, overseeing project schedules and budgets, supervising personnel, and maintaining final responsibility for study quality.

In addition, Dr. Cominole has performed and supervised instrument design and data collection activities, prepared documentation for the federal instrument clearance process, developed and evaluated study methodologies, processed and analyzed study data from multiple sources, and reviewed data quality. She has experience developing web, self-administered, telephone, SMS text, and in-person interview protocols; record abstraction forms; focus group protocols; and mail surveys. Dr. Cominole also has directed education evaluations that involve both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, including surveys, administrative data, interviews, and focus groups. Her research interests include postsecondary education topics involving equity in educational access and attainment; financial aid and student loan debt; and post-attainment outcomes for advanced degree, baccalaureate, and subbaccalaureate students.

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