Samantha Holquist

Senior Research Scientist II

Samantha Holquist Picture

Research Focus

Education & certification

PhD, Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, MPA, The George Washington University.

Samantha Holquist

Senior Research Scientist II, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Samantha “Sammy” Holquist (she/her/hers), PhD, is an expert in community-engaged research methods, improvement science, and implementation science. She partners with youth, practitioners, communities, and policymakers to develop more equitable and just systems that better meet youth and community needs.

At Child Trends, Samantha leads work that centers youth, practitioner, and community voices in systemic change and creating safer, more equitable communities. Her recent work helps education and justice systems address challenges and implement interventions to enhance youth success, particularly for traditionally underserved but historically resilient populations. Samantha recognizes the importance of valid and reliable data in guiding improvement efforts; partners with youth, practitioners, and communities to create strength-based measures that uplift youths’ unique experiences, values, and norms; and contributes to the evidence base on the transformative impacts of youth, practitioner, and community partnerships in driving systemic change. Samantha’s work has been funded by the Institute for Education Sciences, National Science Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Samantha’s expertise includes a range of innovative approaches to technical assistance, research, and evaluation. Her technical assistance work integrates human-centered design, adult learning, improvement science, and implementation science principles to tailor support for transformative change. Her research and evaluation uses mixed methods and participatory approaches to overcome the limitations of traditional research approaches, in which researchers typically do not partner with users of research.

Samantha has published in several prominent peer-reviewed journals, including Educational Administration Quarterly, Teachers College Record, Educational Leadership, and Educational Policy. She regularly presents at the American Education Research Association Convention, Society for Research on Adolescence Conference, and American Evaluation Association Conference.

Samantha received her PhD in organizational leadership, policy, and development from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a Master of Public Administration from The George Washington University. She spends her time in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Port Wing, Wisconsin. She has previously lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, Portland, Oregon, and Washington, DC and remains deeply connected to these communities.

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